You’ve prepped the room, gathered your tools, and your supply of gorgeous, American-made hardwood flooring is ready to go. Installing your own wood flooring is a fun and rewarding project, but there are a few things to look out for. Staggering your planks is a crucial step to creating a beautiful and lasting room. Not staggering the seams of your floor can create a disruptive pattern that attracts unwanted attention to individual planks. More importantly, improper staggering makes a less structurally sound floor more susceptible to bowing or warping. Avoid these issues and make your new room a success with this guide on how to stagger wood floor planks.
Creating a Stagger
The key to staggering the seams of your floor is mixing up the lengths of the planks you use. This is easy if your wood flooring comes in different sizes. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to cut planks to create your stagger effect. The first board of each row will set the foundation for your stagger pattern. Start your first row by installing full-length planks until the last board, which you will cut to fit. To avoid wasting materials, save the cutting to use as first boards for future rows. As you lay the first board of every row, make sure it’s longer or shorter than the plank beside it. As long as your first plank is staggered, the rest of the row will be as well.
Distance Between Seams
As you figure out how to stagger wood floor planks in your room, keep in mind the distance between each seam matters. Even if two seams don’t align perfectly, the eye can still see them as one line if they aren’t far enough apart. As a rule of thumb, try to keep six inches between the seams of adjacent rows. If you install wood planks wider than five inches, you should increase that gap to at least eight to ten inches. This will help create a clear distinction between planks and avoid obvious and unwanted patterns.
Avoid Regular Patterns
Speaking of unwanted patterns, there are a few design mishaps you should avoid. While staggering requires you to pay attention to adjacent rows, you should also keep an eye on how every other row aligns. If two planks line up with only one staggered plank between them, it creates an H pattern that looks too even and unnatural. This can draw attention away from the natural grain and texture of your flooring. Another pattern to avoid is the step pattern, which can happen if you stagger your planks with a uniform distance. Keep an eye out for these patterns by paying attention to your entire floor as you lay each row down.
Here at From the Forest, we want your new engineered hardwood floors to be a success. Find the best wood flooring option for your home project and make your new room shine with natural beauty and style.