So you’ve decided to install some beautiful hardwood floors. It’s a classic design choice, a timeless flooring material that you can’t go wrong with. But now you’re wondering which way to lay your new wood flooring. There are a lot of factors to consider: the plank shapes, the orientation, and the tiling pattern.
Larger rooms, for example, should have wood flooring oriented to create square, repeating patterns. Smaller rooms are more suited to having parallel wood planks. You can also play with the color of the planks, their size, and their bonds to create an endless variety of options.
Today, we’ll be going through the different considerations homeowners need to think about when laying down new wood flooring.
Rectangular wood floorings are planks or tiles that have one dimension noticeably longer than the other. It’s the most common shape for wood floors and is widely used for its simplicity and flexibility.
It’s versatile enough to be used in both large and small rooms as well as outdoor spaces. And since rectangular floor patterns are relatively simple, they’re the easiest to maintain. Rectangular wood flooring is the best option for those new to installing and using hardwood flooring.
One way to orient rectangular wood flooring is to lay them parallel to the orientation room. If you’re dealing with a generally square room, you’ll want to orient the floor pieces perpendicular to any light sources from windows or open doors. This helps make it so that the seams between wood planks are not so visible. If the room itself is rectangular, you can choose to lay your flooring parallel to either the shorter or longer dimension of the room. Both have their own pros and cons.
Laying your wood flooring parallel to the longer side of the room is useful if you’re looking to make that dimension seem longer. If you’re working with a particularly small floor area, orienting your wood flooring parallel to that room’s depth will help visually elongate it.
Conversely, if you’re dealing with a larger room, you can help balance the space by orienting your flooring parallel to the shorter side of the space.
Laying wood floors diagonally is an easy way to add some flair to your wood flooring. This is also useful if your natural light sources are located in the corner of a room and not in the middle of a wall.
Bonds are how repeating flooring tiles are stacked next to each other. There are a few common ones that you can choose from when laying down your wood flooring.
Running bonds are when you lay wood planks such that the next row is staggered from its preceding row. The most commonly used pattern is the ½ running bond which staggers the next row exactly halfway from the last. You can also choose to employ ⅓ and even ¼ running bonds which have varying visual effects on your finished floor.
Stack bonds have tiles lined up exactly in line with each other in both directions. Stack bonds create clean, crisp lines and are perfect for those looking to have a more modern, minimalist look for their flooring.
Homeowners can also choose to run their flooring rows at random staggered intervals. When done right, it adds a homogenous, rustic feel to any room. This is also perfect when using faux wood tiles that have repeating patterns on them – breaking them up into random staggered intervals makes it less obvious.
Some smaller wood planks and tiles come either in square shapes or come in sets of wood pieces that create square patterns on the floor. Since these patterns have no dominant dimension, they are highly flexible and easy to apply to any larger-sized room.
Wood parquets are small, hardwood finger tiles usually grouped in sets of 3 to 5 pieces that form a square. A mosaic floor pattern means that these groups or wood parquets are tiled next to each other such that the adjacent wood parquets are oriented perpendicular to the last.
Mosaic patterns are easy to achieve and are one of the more commonly used square wood flooring patterns.
2. Basket Weave
Basket weave patterns are achieved by using sets of parquet pieces and a square filler piece. They are arranged in a way that the floor looks like a series of weaves intertwined with each other.
Basket weaves are a classic wood tiling pattern and are used in many older homes. Use these if you want to add a timeless feel to a space.
Checkerboard patterns use two sets of parquet pieces or square tiles with two varying tones, typically one being a lighter-toned material and another being darker. Stacking them in alternating order creates a floor that, true to its namesake, looks like a chessboard or checkerboard. To achieve this effect, homeowners can opt to use two different types of wood floor finish.
This is most commonly used in common areas such as the living room, kitchen, and dining room. These add a mid-century modern flair to a space.
Zigzagging tile patterns, also known as a V arrangement, uses wood floor planks that are alternately oriented at a certain angle (usually 90 degrees) from their adjacent rows of planks.
The Herringbone pattern is ancient – it was used as far back as Roman times and has persisted today due to its ease of installation and visual impact. Rectangular wood pieces are arranged in a V shape, with the butt of one plank resting on the side of the opposite plank. With how versatile this pattern is, it can be used on high-end hardwood planks just as easily as pallet wood planks.
The Chevron floor pattern is similar to the Herringbone with the key difference being how they are joined together at the ends. Instead of fitting the rectangular tiles as is, the ends are instead cut off so that they meet perfectly at the center. The result is clean midpoint lines that create a crisper, more angular look on the finished floor.
Hexagonal floor patterns are among the most complex to be used on wood flooring. They come in odd angles, not the usual 90 degrees, to form a six-sided hexagon unit. As such, they’re not as common as the previously discussed patterns.
But they produce some of the most interesting visual patterns and, when utilize correctly, can add some character to any room.
Wood tiles can come in hexagonal shapes that act as perfect tesselations with each other. That is, all of the sides fit snuggly against the adjacent tiles and no filler pieces are needed. They create a honeycomb pattern and create an interesting floor plane pattern.
Instead of using full hexagonal pieces, you can also choose to utilize three separate diamond tiles that form a full hexagonal set. When viewed as a whole, you can also interpret the pattern as having six-sided stars.
Take careful stock of all the patterns you can use – the typical rectangular planks, the wood parquet square patterns, and the more eccentric hexagonal pieces. All are good options as floor tiles, depending on the room they are used in, and all of which we’ve covered in our article. Hopefully, this guide can help you decide on which way to lay your wood flooring.