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Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

If you’re planning on installing luxury vinyl plank (LVP) flooring in your home, you’re probably wondering which direction you should lay the planks in. This seemingly simple question is actually quite important because the direction of the floor planks can greatly impact the look and feel of your space. In this article, we’ll discuss the different directions you can install LVP and the factors to consider when deciding on the best direction for your home.

What are the Different Directions You Can Install LVP

There are three main directions you can lay your vinyl plank flooring: lengthwise (also known as parallel), widthwise (perpendicular), and diagonally. Each direction has its own unique advantages and aesthetic qualities. Let’s take a closer look at each one.

  • Lengthwise (Parallel): This direction is the most common way to install LVP, as it makes a room appear longer and more spacious. To achieve this effect, you should lay the planks parallel to the longest wall in your room. This works well in long, narrow rooms and can give the illusion of an even larger space, especially when using larger or wider planks.
  • Widthwise (Perpendicular): Installing your LVP flooring widthwise or perpendicular to the longest wall can make a room appear wider and shorter. This is an ideal option for rooms that are wider than they are long. By laying the planks perpendicular to the longest wall, you can balance the room and help even out the proportions.
  • Diagonally: Laying your vinyl planks diagonally, at a 45-degree angle, can add a unique visual interest to your space. This installation technique creates a dynamic look, drawing the eye from one corner of the room to the other. Diagonal installation works well in square rooms, as it can create the illusion of a larger space. It’s worth noting that this method usually involves more cutting and waste, making it a bit more time consuming and expensive than the other options.

Factors to Consider in Vinyl Plank Flooring Direction


The natural light and windows in the area should influence the direction of the flooring in a room. If the room has large windows, the direction of the flooring should be horizontal to the glass panels. It creates a seamless transition between the floor and walls and enhances the room’s overall appearance by emphasizing the space’s size. Conversely, if the room lacks natural light and its mood is dark and gloomy, laying the vinyl planks parallel to a window’s opening is essential to make the room appear wider and brighter.

Flooring Patterns and Designs

Flooring patterns and designs must also be considered when deciding on the direction to lay vinyl plank flooring. One of the essential rules of décor is that the planks should be laid in the direction of the primary light source. For instance, if the room has a central chandelier, the planks should be laid perpendicular to the light source. Additionally, if the vinyl planks have directional flecks or patterns, they should be laid with the lines going in the same direction. It helps to create an illusory effect of space and will improve the flooring’s overall appearance.

Doorways and Transitions

When considering the direction to lay vinyl plank flooring, doorways and transition areas should also be considered. The room’s entry point or the way the room leads into other rooms will impact the direction to install the vinyl planks. The general rule is to lay the planks perpendicular to the entrance or exit door, so they flow seamlessly from one room to another. If the doorway is unusually wide, a transition piece can help to differentiate between the two flooring sections.

Traffic Flow

The room’s traffic flow is another critical factor to consider when deciding how to lay vinyl plank flooring. Typically, the planks should be parallel to the room’s main traffic flow path. This direction will create an illusion of extended space and prevent tripping hazards. Suppose the room leads to a changing area such as a mudroom or laundry room. In that case, the planks should be installed perpendicular to this area to differentiate the separation between the rooms.

Personal Preference

Finally, personal preference is essential in deciding how to lay vinyl plank flooring. At the end of the day, it your floors! The vinyl plank flooring’s direction has a profound impact on the overall layout and adds a distinctive texture to the space. Depending on the floor’s design and the homeowner’s preferences, the vinyl plank flooring can be laid in various directions. If one likes to accentuate specific items or create a unique statement piece, then opting for a diagonal or herringbone design might be preferred.

By considering these factors and the different installation directions, you can decide on the best direction to lay your luxury vinyl plank flooring. Whichever direction you choose, your new LVP floor will surely be a stunning addition to your home.

Simple Steps to Install Vinyl Flooring

Installing vinyl flooring can be a great DIY project that will give your space a fresh look and save money by doing it yourself. Vinyl is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability, water resistance, and ease of installation. In this article, we’re going to guide you through the process of installing vinyl flooring in simple, easy-to-follow steps. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a newbie, the information provided here will help you achieve professional-looking results.

Before we begin, gathering all the necessary tools and materials you’ll need for a successful installation is important. Here are some of the essentials: measuring tape, utility knife, straight edge, vinyl flooring adhesive (if required), vinyl tiles or planks, and a vinyl flooring roller (or a rolling pin if you don’t have one). With these items in hand, let’s jump into the installation process.

Step 1: Prepare the Subfloor

The first step in installing vinyl flooring is to ensure that your subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any existing flooring, adhesive, or debris from the subfloor using a scraper or putty knife. If your subfloor is wooden, check that all nails are flush with the surface and there are no squeaky or loose planks. Concrete subfloors may need a self-leveling compound if there are any significant dips, cracks, or uneven areas. Give your subfloor a good vacuuming or sweeping to ensure it’s free of dust and debris before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Measure and Plan Your Layout

Measure your room carefully and calculate the amount of vinyl flooring you’ll need. It’s always a good idea to add 10-15% extra to account for cutting errors and waste. When planning your layout, consider the following tips for a professional look:

  • Start from the center of the room and work your way out.
  • Arrange planks or tiles parallel to the longest wall, making the room appear larger.
  • Stagger the joints of each row by at least 6 inches to give the flooring a more natural look.
  • Plan your layout so the last row of material is at least half the width of the first row, or adjust the starting position accordingly.

Step 3: Cut and Trim Your Vinyl Flooring

Cutting vinyl flooring is relatively easy, but it’s important to take your time and make accurate cuts, especially around door frames, pipes, and other fixed objects. We recommend using a sharp utility knife and a straight edge or ruler. To make straight cuts, score the top surface of the vinyl along your desired line and gradually deepen the cut with additional passes. Once the cut is complete, gently bend the vinyl to separate the pieces. For more complex cuts, such as curves or notches, it’s a good idea to create a template from cardboard or paper and trace it onto the vinyl for a precise fit.

Step 4: Apply Adhesive (If Required)

There are different types of vinyl flooring, including glue-down, peel-and-stick, and click-lock. Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, you’ll need to apply adhesive to the back of the tiles or planks or directly onto the subfloor for glue-down vinyl. Use the right adhesive for your product and follow the recommended trowel size and application techniques. With peel-and-stick vinyl, simply remove the backing and press the tiles or planks firmly into place. Click-lock vinyl doesn’t require adhesive, as the planks or tiles interlock together, creating a tight, secure bond.

Step 5: Install Vinyl Flooring

Start laying your vinyl flooring at the center of the room or from the planned starting point. Work your way out in rows, carefully aligning the edges and pressing down firmly on each piece. For glue-down and peel-and-stick vinyl, use a vinyl flooring roller or a rolling pin to ensure the material has good contact with the adhesive and smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles. If you’re installing click-lock vinyl, ensure that the seams click together securely and there are no visible gaps between the planks or tiles. Keep a consistent pattern of staggered joints and cut pieces to fit as needed.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches

Once your vinyl flooring is installed, it’s time to add the finishing touches. Reinstall any baseboards or molding that were removed and use caulk or filler to fill any gaps between the flooring and the trim. If you had to cut around door frames or other obstacles, you may need to install transition strips or quarter-round molding to cover the exposed edges of the flooring. Finally, thoroughly clean your new vinyl flooring to remove any adhesive residue, dust, or debris. Now you can enjoy your beautiful new floor!


Does it matter which direction you lay vinyl plank flooring?

Yes, it does matter which direction you lay vinyl plank flooring. The overall look and feel of your space can be impacted by the direction in which the planks are laid. The general rule of thumb is to lay the planks parallel to the longest wall of the room. This creates the illusion of a larger space and helps to make the room feel more open. However, there are some situations where you may want to lay the planks in a different direction, such as if you have an angled wall or if you want to create a unique pattern. Ultimately, the direction you choose will depend on your personal preference and the layout of your space.

Which direction do you install luxury vinyl planks?

Luxury vinyl planks can be installed in any direction. However, it is recommended to install them parallel to the longest wall in the room. This will create a visually appealing and spacious look. Additionally, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation to ensure the longevity and durability of the flooring.

About The Author

Courtney Daily

Courtney is a freelance writer who wears many other hats: kindergarten teacher by day, Broadway diva in the shower. She is a transplant Hoosier who originated in New England. When she isn't writing in her spare time, you will find her reading history books, arguing with her latest knitting project, or being beaten by her kids at most games.

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