Does It Matter Which Way You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Does It Matter Which Way You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?

An integral aspect of achieving the perfect finish and longevity of your vinyl plank flooring lies in the proper installation method, including the often overlooked detail of which direction to lay the planks.

In this article, we will delve into the crucial factors that influence this decision and how the orientation of your flooring can impact the overall look and feel of your space.

We’ll also discuss the importance of floor preparation, layout planning, and the effect of natural light on your flooring choice.

Buckle up for an insightful journey that promises to arm you with the knowledge you need for your next flooring project.

Direction of Installation

Impact of Installation Direction on Visual Aesthetics

One of the most exciting aspects of DIY home improvement for me is witnessing how a simple change can drastically transform the aesthetics of a room.

And that’s certainly the case when you change the direction of your vinyl plank flooring.

Parallel vs Perpendicular Installation to Walls

In my experience, laying planks parallel to the longest wall often accentuates the room’s length and creates a seamless flow.

On the other hand, installing them perpendicularly can break up the space, creating an interesting visual effect that draws the eye.

So, it comes down to your personal preference and the aesthetic you’re aiming for.

The Role of Natural and Artificial Lighting

Light plays a crucial role in how we perceive space. If your room gets a lot of sunlight, laying planks parallel to the light source can highlight the flooring texture, lending a warm and inviting ambiance.

Meanwhile, artificial light effects can also be manipulated by changing the flooring direction.

I’ve seen rooms completely transformed under different lighting conditions.

Room Size and Shape in Choosing Installation Direction

Beyond aesthetics, the room’s size and shape can influence the direction of your vinyl plank flooring installation.

Making Smaller Rooms Appear Larger

I once worked on a small bedroom project where we installed the planks parallel to the longest wall.

This gave the illusion of the room being wider than it actually was.

It’s a neat trick if you’re looking to make a small space appear larger.

Addressing Irregularly Shaped Rooms

Irregularly shaped rooms present a unique challenge.

The key is to find the direction that offers the most visual continuity while minimizing the number of cuts.

I remember a project where we had an L-shaped room, and we decided to go diagonal.

The result was a dynamic and cohesive look that truly enhanced the room’s unique floor plan.

Subfloor Preparation

Just as a painter starts with a clean and smooth canvas, so too should we begin our flooring installation on a subfloor that is clean, flat, and dry.

Remember, the condition of your subfloor can influence not only the aesthetics of your flooring but also its long-term durability.

Imperfections on the subfloor may be inconspicuous initially, but with time, these can affect the direction and alignment of the planks, leading to unsightly gaps or peaking.

  1. The Need for a Clean, Flat, and Dry Subfloor

Let me share a memorable anecdote from my early days as an installer.

One client had us rush through the installation on a subfloor that wasn’t completely dry.

The result? The planks started buckling after a few months, and we had to redo the entire floor.

A hard lesson on the importance of a clean, flat, and thoroughly dry subfloor!

  1. How Subfloor Imperfections Can Affect Plank Direction

The direction of your planks can be thrown off if the subfloor isn’t smooth.

At a recently renovated old farmhouse, we faced challenging subfloor undulations.

Here, the imperfections on the subfloor affected the plank direction, causing misalignment.

We learned that slight irregularities can lead to significant alignment issues over time.

Tips for Subfloor Preparation

Remove Old Flooring and Adhesive

Before you start with your spanking new vinyl plank flooring, you need to remove any old flooring and adhesive.

Sure, it’s tempting to cut corners and install over existing floors, but trust me, the results rarely live up to expectations.

In my experience, addressing the subfloor properly always pays off in the long run.

Leveling and Smoothing the Subfloor

Finally, leveling and smoothing the subfloor is a critical step that’s often overlooked.

A project I was proud of was a large dining room where, after spending ample time leveling and smoothing, we achieved a flawless vinyl plank installation.

The floor looked spectacular, all thanks to a well-prepared subfloor. Remember, a smooth subfloor means a smooth flooring installation!

Plank Orientation and Patterns

The placement and pattern of vinyl planks can drastically influence the aesthetics of a room.

I’ve seen simple, well-placed patterns transform a space entirely.

Let me guide you through some essential concepts and examples.

Visual Flow in Vinyl Plank Flooring

  1. Impact of Plank Direction on Room Dynamics

Plank direction can create a subtle yet significant visual impact.

When planks are laid parallel to the longest wall, they create an illusion of length and make a room appear larger.

For instance, in a narrow hallway I worked on, we placed the planks lengthways, and the corridor instantly felt more spacious.

Conversely, a perpendicular placement can make the space feel narrower or cozier.

  1. Role of Patterns and Textures

Patterns and textures on planks add a layer of complexity to the visual flow.

They can create an appealing contrast or add a rustic charm depending on the overall decor.

I remember an attic room where we used a distressed wood pattern.

It not only complemented the room’s vintage vibe but also made the room feel more inviting.

Vinyl Plank Patterns and Their Ideal Orientation

  1. Wood Grain Patterns

Wood grain patterns are a timeless choice that can bring a sense of nature and warmth to any room.

With their realistic textures, they can mimic a variety of wood types.

Consider the direction of natural light and the size of your space when laying these patterns.

Once, I worked in a sunlit bedroom with a large window.

We laid oak-patterned planks parallel to the window, and the light hitting the grain created a stunning effect.

  1. Tile and Stone Patterns

Vinyl planks can also imitate tile and stone patterns, bringing a touch of elegance and durability without the high cost or maintenance.

These patterns can be laid in various configurations to suit the room’s style.

For example, in a rustic kitchen renovation project, we used a slate pattern in a herringbone layout.

The result was a beautiful, unique floor that became the room’s focal point.


Key Takeaways

In my years of experience with vinyl plank flooring, one thing has remained constant: the significance of direction, pattern, and texture.

Whether it’s making a space feel more significant with lengthway planks, highlighting a vintage vibe with distressed wood patterns, or creating a focal point with a herringbone slate pattern, each decision you make can dramatically impact the room’s aesthetics.

The Importance of Direction in Vinyl Flooring

The direction in which you lay your vinyl planks isn’t just a matter of personal preference—it’s a strategic choice that can enhance or downplay your space’s features.

From my own experiences, I’ve observed how a simple change in direction can transform a room or hallway, creating depth or altering the perceived space.

The direction, when paired with the correct patterns and textures, can make your flooring an essential element of your decor rather than just an afterthought.

Make your Choice Count

In conclusion, I urge you all to consider carefully the specifics of your room and your personal tastes when installing vinyl plank flooring.

Each room has its own character, and the right flooring can enhance it. Remember the attic room where distressed wood pattern added a rustic charm?

Or the sunlit bedroom where the direction of the oak-patterned planks made all the difference? Your flooring could be the next great story.

So take your time, consider your options, and make a choice that you’ll be happy to live with for years to come.


Hi! I’m Kobby, one of the co-owners of and the newest house owner in town. I’m a huge fan of most things natural. Over here on this site, I'm happy to share all the exciting hacks, tricks, and tips I have learned and continue to learn each day about taking care of natural stones.

Recent Posts