Which Direction To Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring? [A Complete Guide]

Which Direction To Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring

When it comes to transforming the look and feel of a room, vinyl plank flooring has become a popular choice due to its durability, affordability, and realistic wood-like appearance. However, one question you must ask before installation is which direction to lay vinyl plank flooring. If you are unaware of it, I got you!

To determine the direction for laying vinyl plank flooring, assess room layout, prioritize natural light and entryways, and maintain visual flow. Prepare the subfloor, acclimate planks, and then install spacers. Cut and fit planks as needed, and finish with baseboards for a polished look.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of laying out vinyl plank flooring and help you make an informed decision about which direction to choose.

Gather Supplies:

  • Utility knife
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight edge
  • Rubber mallet
  • Vinyl plank flooring
  • Underlayment (if required)
  • Chalk line
  • Spacers

Cost: Dollars 300 To 700

7 Step-by-Step Process of Laying Vinyl Plank Flooring in Right Direction: Complete Guide

Laying vinyl floor planks properly can create a beautiful transformation in any process. But installing in the appropriate direction is crucial and for that, you have to follow the right process.  

1. Prepare the Subfloor:

Ensure that the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Remove any debris or imperfections that could affect the installation process. If necessary, use a leveling compound to create a smooth surface.

2. Choose a Starting Wall:

Select a wall to start from. This is a crucial decision as it will influence the overall layout of the flooring. Many experts recommend starting along the longest wall or the wall with the most prominent sightline. This creates a more visually appealing and balanced look.

3. Lay the First Row:

Begin by laying the first row of vinyl planks along the chosen starting wall. Make sure to leave a small gap, usually around 1/4 inch, between the planks and the wall to allow for expansion. Use spacers to maintain this gap consistently along the entire perimeter.

4. Continue Installing Rows:

Lay the next rows of planks, clicking them together using the interlocking edges. Stagger the seams by a minimum of 6 inches between planks in adjacent rows. This creates a more natural and visually pleasing appearance, resembling real wood flooring.

5. Deal with Obstacles:

As you continue across the room, you may encounter obstacles like doorways, vents, or irregular spaces. For these areas, carefully measure and cut the planks to fit using a utility knife or a saw.

6. Maintain Directional Consistency:

While vinyl plank flooring can be laid in various directions, it’s generally recommended to maintain a consistent direction throughout the installation for a cohesive look. However, keep in mind that laying the planks perpendicular to the longest wall can visually expand the space, while parallel installation can emphasize the length of the room.

7. Complete the Installation:

Continue laying the planks row by row until you reach the final wall. Remember to leave another 1/4-inch expansion gap here. Once the last row is installed, remove the spacers and install baseboards or molding to cover the expansion gaps along the walls.

10 Tips About How to Lay Peel and Stick Vinyl Plank Flooring

Laying peel-and-stick vinyl plank flooring can be a satisfying DIY project that transforms the look of your space. To ensure a smooth and successful installation, consider these valuable tips:

Tip 1: Prepare the Subfloor Thoroughly

Before you begin, ensure the subfloor is clean, dry, and level. Even small imperfections can affect the adherence of the planks. Repair any cracks, bumps, or irregularities to create an even surface for the peel-and-stick planks.

Tip 2: Measure and Plan Ahead

Measure the dimensions of your room accurately to determine the number of planks needed. Plan the layout in advance to avoid ending up with small, narrow pieces along the walls. Starting with a full-width plank against the longest wall often provides a more balanced look.

Tip 3: Use a Guide Line

To maintain a straight and even installation, use a chalk line or a straight edge to create a guideline along your starting wall. This helps you keep the first row of planks aligned and prevents crooked installation.

Tip 4: Mind the Expansion Gap

Leave a small expansion gap (typically around 1/8 inch) around the perimeter of the room. This allows the vinyl planks to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity without buckling or warping.

Tip 5: Acclimate the Planks

Allow the vinyl planks to acclimate to the room’s conditions for at least 48 hours before installation. This prevents potential issues caused by planks expanding or contracting after they’re laid.

Tip 6: Apply Firm Pressure

As you lay each plank, firmly press it down to ensure good adhesion. You can use a hand roller or a piece of scrap wood to press along the length of each plank. This step helps eliminate air bubbles and ensures a secure bond.

Tip 7: Inspect and Adjust

Regularly inspect your work as you progress. Check for gaps between planks, misalignment, or any adhesive residue. If you notice any issues, gently lift and reposition the plank to correct them before the adhesive sets.

Tip 8: Avoid Overstretching

When laying peel-and-stick vinyl planks, avoid overstretching them. This can lead to gaps between planks over time. Instead, gently unroll the plank onto the adhesive while aligning the edges.

Tip 9: Cut Carefully

When cutting planks to fit around corners or obstacles, measure and mark accurately before making any cuts. Use a sharp utility knife or a vinyl plank cutter to achieve clean and precise cuts.

Tip 10: Take Your Time

Patience is key during the installation process. Take your time to ensure each plank is properly aligned and adhered to. Rushing can lead to mistakes that might be difficult to rectify once the adhesive sets.

Which Direction to Lay Vinyl Plank Flooring in Multiple Rooms:

Coordinating the direction of vinyl plank flooring across multiple rooms is essential for achieving a seamless and visually appealing transition. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you decide how to lay vinyl plank flooring directionally in multiple rooms:

  • Consider Overall Flow:

Think about the overall flow of your home. The goal is to create a sense of continuity and harmony between the rooms. Generally, it’s recommended to maintain a consistent direction throughout the main living areas to avoid a disjointed look.

  • Follow the Longest Wall:

In each room, identify the longest wall and lay the planks parallel to it. This technique visually elongates the space and provides a more cohesive appearance. Consistency in plank direction across rooms adds to the fluidity of the design.

  • Transition Points:

When transitioning between rooms, you have a few options. Ideally, if the layout allows, continue the planks from one room to the next without any transition pieces for a seamless look. If you need to separate areas with different flooring types, consider using a T-molding or a coordinating transition strip.

  • Natural Light and Entryways:

Pay attention to the direction of natural light and the location of entryways. Whenever possible, lay the planks perpendicular to the incoming light for a visually pleasing effect. Additionally, consider laying the planks towards the primary entry point of each room for a welcoming feel.

  • Create Focal Points:

In open floor plans where multiple rooms share a common area, you can use flooring direction to create distinct zones. Laying planks in a different direction for a particular area can serve as a visual cue, defining separate spaces within the larger layout.

  • Room Proportions:

If some rooms are considerably smaller than others, adjust the direction of the planks accordingly. Lay the planks parallel to the longer dimension of the room to visually expand the space.

  • Diagonal or Herringbone Layout:

For a unique and eye-catching look, you might consider laying the planks diagonally or in a herringbone pattern in one or more rooms. However, this requires extra planning and precision during installation, so be prepared for a more intricate process.

  • Transitioning Flooring Styles:

If you’re transitioning from one type of flooring material to vinyl plank flooring (e.g., from carpet to vinyl), it’s especially important to ensure a clean and smooth transition. Use transition strips that complement both flooring types for a polished appearance.

  • Plan Ahead:

Before you start laying the planks, create a comprehensive layout plan for all the rooms involved. Consider drawing a diagram to visualize how the plank direction will flow from one space to another. This will help you foresee any potential challenges and make informed decisions.

  • Consistency is Key:

The key to successfully laying vinyl plank flooring in multiple rooms is consistency. By maintaining a uniform direction, paying attention to transitions, and considering the flow of your home, you’ll create a cohesive and inviting atmosphere that ties all the rooms together seamlessly.


What’s The Best Direction To Lay Vinyl Planks?

The best direction depends on factors like natural light and room dimensions. Generally, lay planks parallel to the longest wall to visually elongate the space.

Can I Change the Plank Direction Between Rooms?

While consistent direction between rooms creates flow, you can transition directions subtly using a transition strip at doorways for a polished appearance.

How Do I Acclimate Vinyl Planks?

Place unopened boxes of planks in the installation room for 48 hours to acclimate them to the room’s temperature and humidity levels.

Can I Install Vinyl Planks On Any Subfloor?

Vinyl planks can be installed on most subfloors, including concrete, plywood, and existing vinyl, as long as they’re clean, level, and dry.

Do I Need Underlayment?

While some vinyl planks have built-in underlayment, adding a separate underlayment can improve insulation, and sound absorption, and smooth out minor imperfections.

Can I Install Vinyl Planks Myself?

Yes, vinyl plank installation is DIY-friendly. Basic tools like a utility knife, measuring tape, and spacers are needed. Follow manufacturer instructions for best results.

How Do I Handle Door Frames And Corners?

Trim door frames and baseboards to allow planks to fit underneath. Use a coping saw to cut planks to fit around corners, maintaining a professional look.

What About Expansion Gaps?

Maintain a 1/4 to 3/8 inch expansion gap around the perimeter of the room using spacers. This accounts for potential floor movement due to temperature changes.

Can I Install Vinyl Planks In Wet Areas?

Yes, many vinyl planks are waterproof and suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. Ensure proper sealing of seams and edges in wet areas.

How Do I Clean And Maintain Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Regular sweeping and damp mopping are usually sufficient. Avoid excessive moisture, use a manufacturer-recommended cleaner, and protect the floor from heavy furniture to maintain its appearance.


Choosing which direction to lay vinyl plank flooring is an important decision that impacts both the visual appeal and the perception of space in a room. Follow the step-by-step instructions to successfully install vinyl plank flooring and achieve a stunning result. 

Consider aesthetics and interior style to choose between a traditional parallel layout or a perpendicular design and enhance the beauty and comfort of your living space.

Jahidul Alam

Hello dear! This is Jahidul Alam. I am the admin of this Tidy Floor. I have been in the floor cleaning business for the last 20 years. My business is all about ensuring affordable flooring cleaning services for Americans.

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