When it comes to laying hardwood floors, the planks are typically run perpendicular to floor joists. Installers choose this method to ensure the planks can correctly span from one joist to another, offering secure, stable footing. By running planks parallel to the floor joists, you risk incorrect settling on the subfloor. This poor settling could lend to increased squeaking and potential gaps.
In contrast to the mechanics of choosing a hardwood flooring direction, another aspect to consider is overall aesthetics. Wood flooring imparts a natural flair when run in accordance with the longest dimension in a selected room or across a whole home. For example, consider a living room: if the room measures 18 feet by 12 feet, the ideal hardwood flooring direction would run the 18 feet.
Narrow hallways and galley kitchens are perfect examples of rooms where the hardwood planks should be laid to run the length. Installing hardwood crosswise in a small or narrow space can be unsightly.
Other deliberations can include room viewing. Interior designers often note hardwood flooring direction is best laid perpendicular to a viewing position. If you enter a home, a perpendicular view can help mask any space, cracks or askew seams.
Finally, selecting a suitable wood, grain and colour can impact your flooring direction. Take into account your kitchen cabinetry, baseboard trims, and other wood accents in your home.
While it may not be feasible to run hardwood flooring in the most favourable direction, there are many benefits to a proper installation. When in doubt, contact a reputable hardwood flooring or plank flooring expert to provide an in-home consultation.