In Which Direction Should You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?

In Which Direction Should You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

Luxury vinyl planks are becoming one of the most desirable flooring systems. Its surge in popularity is due to its durability, affordability, and functionality. Wood-look vinyl planks are pre-made in different textures, colors, and designs. One thing that makes luxury vinyl stand out is that you can lay it out yourself. Which brings us to the main topic of this blog post. In which direction should you lay vinyl plank flooring? Keep reading below to find out.

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Which Direction To Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Like most flooring, vinyl plank is installed in the same direction as the natural light source. The direction and pattern will impact the overall feel of the room. It is sometimes a good idea if you take your time before you decide on the right direction. Before laying the vinyl plank, there are various factors you should consider. Such as:

– Position Of The Staircase & Other Features

When you have a staircase in your home, alterations are essential before you choose the ideal direction. This decision will also ensure that adjacent rooms are well-styled to your taste. Horizontal installation is the most suitable for stairs. 

It’s also advisable to maintain uniformity by following the same direction from one floor to another. That applies to other structural parts of the house. You need to design around other room features like closets, doorways, cabinets, and chimneys. 

– The Room’s Shape

The vinyl plank flooring should run parallel to the room’s longest wall. It makes the wood look more spacious. For the long kitchens, hallways, and other narrow places in the house, running the plank in such a direction will give it more depth in terms of available space. Using a diagonal layout is ideal for rooms with angled walls. It is efficient and makes it visually pleasing. 

– The Flow Of Natural Lighting

The direction of the sunlight is a vital factor to consider when choosing the right direction for the vinyl plank flooring. Typically, the installation should follow the leading source of natural light. If your living room or other rooms in the house feature large windows, you have to run the planks in the same direction. It is not an elegant idea to follow the light when you have focal angles or narrow spaces in the room. Asides from the vertical or horizontal direction, homeowners can use other patterns like herringbone and diagonal to achieve an aesthetically pleasing room. 

– Size Of The Planks

Homeowners can get different kinds of engineered luxury vinyl planks to opt for. Vinyl plank flooring is durable, eco-friendly, and waterproof. Most vinyl planks are premanufactured at similar lengths and widths. You will need to cut some to fit into your room perfectly. The direction you choose will affect the time and money you spend during installation. To save time and other resources, begin with the trajectory of the rooms’ longer dimensions. That will save you from wasting the planks. 

To get the best direction for your vinyl plank flooring, run the floor perpendicular to your favorite feature to get the eyes drawn to it. That is obtained by adding emphasis to a large piece of furniture or feature wall. Remember to highlight the vinyl plank color by placing it in line with the light to showcase its uniqueness. 

How Can You Avoid Working Backward When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Understandably, most plank installations will require working backward at some point. Depending on the product you are using, it is better to start laying the vinyl planks in an area that would prevent you from installing backward. 

It is easy to damage the plank’s locking/floating system during installation. That occurs when using the ‘tapping block’, which is required to tap the plank firmly into place. The design of the locking system of the plank is for the tongue to go into the groove. When installing backward, there is a possibility that you will end up using the tapping block to hit the ‘tongue’. Unfortunately, any damage to the ‘tongue’ will make it tasking to get the planks into place. Consequently, it will create a slight gap instead of the desirable tight joint. 

When you install it backward, vinyl planks can fall apart. It is helpful to lift the planks at a slight angle to lock the joint together. It comes easily apart when the planks are lifted slightly from the tongue side. The whole situation can frustrate your effort and make the installation a nightmare. 

What are the tips for installing vinyl plank backward? 

To avoid damaging the planks, here are the tips to consider when installing the vinyl planks backward.

  • Cut a scrap: The vinyl planking edge will not damage if you cut a scrap of plank and use it to beat on with the tapping block. This tip can be applied when laying all of the planks.
  • Get your hands on a quality tapping block. Despite its rarity in many home stores, there are ways you can order it from various online stores. It will come in handy when you are in a tight backward position during installation. 

Can You Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring In Different Directions?

The general thumb rule states that all vinyl planks should be laid in one direction to achieve the desired result. The ideal direction of the vinyl flooring should be in the same line as the frequently used exit door. It should also be in the exact direction as natural lighting. While there are tedious and expensive ways of doing it, there isn’t a wrong way as long as the vinyl planks are in a similar direction. The design choice dictates what seems natural in a room. 

Do You Need Transition Strips For Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Transition strips provide a seamless and smooth transition between two rooms with different heights. It is also essential for two different types of flooring in a house. Transition strips beautify the flooring system and protect the vinyl planks’ edges from wear and tear. The absence of these strips could cause installation gaps. It could lead to unwanted issues on the flooring, including water damage. It is essential to install the transition strip as part of the entire vinyl plank flooring system. The transition strips should match the color of the floor for a more pleasing look. 

How To Install Transition Strips

The installation process is simple:

  1. Measure the gap between the floors and the door frame.
  2. Cut the strip to the appropriate size.
  3. You can use nails, screws, or adhesive to attach the strip to the area between the floors. 

It is essential to get the alignment rightly to blend well with the surface area. Once you execute these simple steps successfully, the transition strips should be in perfect order. Transition strips are available in various materials and colors to perfectly match your flooring.

Vinyl Plank to Tile - Flooring Transition
Vinyl Plank to Tile – Flooring Transition

In Which Direction Should You Lay Vinyl Flooring In Multiple Rooms?

To invent an illusion of a bigger space, run the vinyl plank along the room’s length. Opt for diagonal installation when there are angles and corners in the room. The overall goal here is to create an authentic and beautiful floor. There are possibilities that rooms in your home are adjoined to others through a hallway. If that is the case, lay the vinyl planks parallel to the hallway. It will enable a seamless transition between the room and hallway. If you are stuck on creating a clean transition between rooms, seek the opinion of a flooring professional. 

Looking For An Installation Pro?

Lots of our readers often complain that they can’t find flooring installers in their area. We suggest you try our free estimation tool to get at least three free quotes from qualified & approved installers in your area within 24 hours.

The tool is powered by Networx, who have been helping people find qualified flooring installers for over 20 years.


Installing vinyl plank flooring is relatively easy when you plan. It’s best that you do it right the first time, as re-installing the floor would cost extra fees and also waste your valuable time. When installing, ensure you have the right tools for the job and remember the all-important acclimation period and equally important expansion gaps.

We hope our guide has helped you decide in which direction you’re going to install your vinyl plank floor. If you have any questions, experiences, or tips you would like to share with us, feel free to speak your thoughts in the comment section at the bottom of the page.

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