Which Direction Should You Install Vinyl Plank Flooring?

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which direction should you install vinyl plank flooring

Vinyl planks are quickly becoming one of the most popular types of flooring for homes. 

Vinyl plank is incredibly durable and can stand up to years of use and abuse. It also comes in all kinds of colors and textures that can match your home. 

However, when the time comes to install vinyl planks, you might be wondering how to do it. You have a lot of different choices when it comes to the direction you lay it down in. 

The truth is that there is no right or wrong direction to install your vinyl plank flooring. There are things you should consider, though. 

Knowing what you need to keep in mind when it comes to direction can help you get the best results. 

In this guide, we have laid out what you need to know about the direction of your vinyl plank flooring. By following these guidelines, you can get a floor you will be happy with for many years.

Vinyl Plank Flooring Installation Direction: Basic Idea

While there are no hard and fast rules regarding vinyl flooring, there are some things to consider. These include: 

  • Light 
  • Room shape 
  • Room features 
  • Personal style 

Why is Direction Important When Installing Vinyl Plank Flooring?

vinyl plank flooring

The direction of your vinyl plank flooring is important because it will determine the look of the room. 

Flooring that is installed poorly can make your home look smaller than it is. If you install it with a few different things in mind, you can make it look bigger and airier

If you end up installing your floor in the wrong direction, it can also look cluttered. 

The point of a new floor is to rejuvenate your home. If it is not installed with the below things in mind, it can end up looking less attractive than before. 

Flooring that has been put in with the whole home in mind can completely change the look. If you want to transform your house and make it look bigger and more comfortable, be sure to install it correctly. 

Light Sources 

One of the main things you want to think about when installing plank flooring is the direction of the light. This is especially important if you want to give a room a large, airy feel. 

If you have large windows in your home that project beams of light, install the floor in that direction. The light and planks will enhance the natural size of the room and make it feel incredibly big. 

However, light doesn’t always have to be a consideration. If your home is arranged so the light projects sideways across the smallest part of the room, this may not work. 

You can also install flooring in the direction of entryways. This will give the impression of length when someone walks into the house. 

As with all interior design, it is best to use your judgment when it comes to lighting and direction. 

Shape of the Room 

The shape of the room you are installing the floor in should also come into play. 

If you have a room that is very narrow and long, install the floor in that direction. If it is perfectly square, install it in the natural flow of the room. 

It is important to remember that the direction of the flooring can drastically change the look of a space. 

You can make a room look bigger than it is or smaller. For example, a long, narrow hallway should not have plank flooring installed side-to-side. 

Features in the Room 

features in the room

The things that are in the room will also play a big part in the direction you choose. If you have a staircase or other feature, it is best to have the planks go in that direction. 

If you want to highlight certain features such as a fireplace, you can also install the planks in that direction. 

Use the flooring to highlight the things you want to be noticed in the room. This is a great way to draw the eye to certain things and control how the room looks. 

Your Personal Style 

Your style should always be considered when installing flooring. 

Vinyl plank flooring is incredibly versatile and can be laid down almost any way. In fact, it even looks good diagonal if that is something you are interested in.

You can also stagger the direction of the floors. This will give you a much more neutral look and won’t draw the eye anywhere in particular. 

Take time to think about what your goals are and what your style is. This will help you plan for the perfect direction and get the look you want. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which way do you lay vinyl plank flooring in multiple rooms?

If you are laying vinyl flooring in multiple rooms, it is best to pick one direction. 

You should also make sure you are using transitions between rooms. These can be things like transition strips or thresholds that denote a new room. 

Is it better to glue or float vinyl plank flooring?

Vinyl plank flooring can be either glued or floated, depending on your preferences. 

However, it is a good idea to glue it if you want it to be a permanent floor. This will ensure that it stays in place and won’t move around over time. 

Does vinyl plank need an expansion gap?

Vinyl plank flooring needs an expansion gap between the floor and the wall. 

This ¼” gap allows the floor to expand and contract with the temperature and humidity. Even if it is glued down, it is a good idea to put in this gap when installing. 


Installing vinyl plank flooring can drastically change the look of your home. By finding the right direction, you can be sure that it will change it for the better. 

Taking all of the above things into consideration will ensure that you get the best floor installation. 

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Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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