Should You Change Direction Of Hardwood Flooring Between Rooms?

Hardwood floors look incredibly gorgeous in any home. If you're looking at installing them throughout your home, you may be wondering the proper way to install them. Should change the direction of hardwood flooring between rooms? We have researched all about the best direction to lay hardwood flooring.

You should not change the direction of hardwood flooring between rooms—the reason why is that it causes visual disharmony. Placing hardwood flooring in the same direction that follows your space is best.

Continue reading to learn more tips and tricks regarding putting down hardwood flooring. We will talk about how to determine which direction to lay down your wood floor, and more.

Home interior hallway with staircase and green walls and hardwood flooring, Should You Change Direction Of Hardwood Flooring Between Rooms?

Hardwood Flooring

There is no doubt that hardwood flooring is an all-time favorite. Installing hardwood floors is favored for many reasons. It is appealing to the eye, easier to keep clean than carpet, increases the value of your home, is long-lasting, and so much more.

For those of you who lean more toward aesthetically pleasing options, hardwood flooring is a great choice. You can choose any furniture or decor you like when you have hardwood flooring. You'll also gain several maintenance advantages such as:

  • Hardwood is more durable than softwood, so it is commonly used for flooring within a home.
  • Solid hardwood lasts longer than engineered hardwood.
  • You can also refinish the hardwood. If you happened to be able to get a lighter wood that you wanted to stain, you could and then sand and finish the wood.
  • Having hardwood floors instead of carpet provides better air quality as well.

Most Common Types of Hardwood Flooring

  • Maple
  • Oak or red oak
  • Hickory
  • Mahogany
  • Cherry
  • Walnut
  • Ash
  • Bamboo

If you like the look but not the price, consider engineered wood flooring. Engineered wood is significantly less expensive than hardwood yet offers the same great aesthetics and durability.

Which direction should a wooden floor be laid?

The hardwood flooring in your home will appear the most cohesive if you are mindful when laying it down. Wood flooring should be laid with the planks perpendicular to the joists rather than between them. This usually means the planks are parallel to the wall that is the longest.

An exception to this is when you have two hallways. We will further discuss what to do when you have two hallways later in this post. Another exception is if the main light source is in the opposite direction of the floor joists.

Most people prefer that their wood flooring follows the direction of the home. This means the wood planks are in the same direction as the longest wall in that room. Placing your wood flooring perpendicular to the floor joists makes for a stronger structure.

Another reason your hardwood flooring should be perpendicular to the floor joists is that doing so will assist in keeping the planks from sagging, buckling, or separating. This is important because you want your flooring to be level and undisturbed.

When deciding how to place your hardwood flooring, consider the main light sources coming into your home. If the planks run from the entrance out, your space will appear larger. In this same instance, hardwood flooring that is laid from side to side will make the room appear shortened, but it also makes the area feel cozier.

Whether your wood flooring matches the room's length or shortens your perspective with side to side planks, they should be placed perpendicular to the floor joists regardless. You will need to install a sub-floor such as plywood otherwise. This creates what is known as a floor system.

Which direction should hardwood floors be laid in a hallway?

For narrow spaces such as a hallway, it is a good idea to lay your hardwood flooring from the doorway. It will cause the room to appear choppy otherwise. An alternative to the typical direction of hardwood floors is the herringbone style, as seen below.

If you only have one hallway, it is best to lay your hardwood floors in the same direction as the longest wall. This should coincide with the floor joist direction. If you have two hallways that meet each other, you should continue placing the hardwood planks in the same direction.

When one hallway is longer than the other, you should run the hardwood planks to follow the direction of the long hallway. Your hardwood flooring will be more stable when laid across floor joists instead of in-between them. This is because the floor joists are part of the flooring that makes the floor structurally sound; problems will occur otherwise.

How do you lay hardwood floor from a room to a room?

It is best to have the same color and style of hardwood throughout your home. When the shade of hardwood changes from room to room, it makes the house feel less cohesive.

Your hardwood floor should go in the same direction from one room to the next. The hardwood planks should be laid down parallel to each other across the width or length of the room.

When you are laying down flooring in a narrow room, it is a good idea to do so horizontally. Laying the hardwood planks down horizontally helps make the room feel bigger.

The majority of hardwood flooring planks are tongue and groove systems. This means one side fits into the other, and the edges lock. The way they are made hides the finishing nails and connects the planks along the seams.

When it comes to hardwood flooring, some people like the herringbone pattern. The planks can be laid down diagonally, in a zig-zag fashion, or squares.

In order to point out the threshold where the floor planks change direction, you can put down a narrow wooden strip. You can avoid this complication by installing diagonal planks or the herringbone pattern. Most people who choose the diagonal look stick with it throughout the home, and the same goes for the herringbone pattern.

Can I install hardwood floor parallel to joists?

It is not a good idea to install a hardwood floor parallel to the joists. This is because doing so can create sagging between those joists. This not only creates a lack of visual appeal, but it can also be dangerous.

When hardwood flooring sags, it creates an uneven floor. The floor will become sloped. The threat here is that the floor may cause further damage --it might eventually cave-in.

Floor joists are usually spaced either 12, 16, or 24 inches apart. If there is a large gap between the floor joists of your home, such as 24 inches, it is a good idea to lay down a sub-floor. Sub-floors are typically plywood.

There are necessary precautions to take if you install your hardwood floor parallel to the joists. You will need to invest in some plywood if you go this route. It is imperative that you either brace the joints every 16 inches or you will need a minimum of a 1/2-inch of nominal plywood as flooring underlayment.

You should always lay the floor out before installing it to not end up with clustered end joints. This allows you to get an idea of what the room will look like when it is finished, and you will be able to make adjustments before officially attaching it.

In Closing

It is not a great idea to change the direction of hardwood flooring from room to room because it causes a safety issue and also breaks up the harmony within your home. You should install your hardwood flooring to be perpendicular to the joists. Otherwise, the hardwood flooring planks will fall in at some point due to the floor being unstable.

Before you go, check out the following links related to hardwood flooring:

Should Hardwood Floors Match Throughout The House?

Can You Float A Hardwood Floor Over Concrete?

Should You Glue Down Hardwood Floor?

Can Bed Bugs Hide In Or Under Hardwood Flooring?

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One comment

  1. To match the direction of the new luxury vinyl plank flooring in my master bedroom, we would have to lay the same hallway flooring parallel to the joists, in a shorter direction perpendicular to the longest wall. But going against those “rules” would be laying the hallway in the same direction as the stairs, which is another “rule.” So which rule do we break? I can’t decide which would look choppier, having two rooms that meet in an opposite direction or having planks in the 38-inch-wide hallway go the short way. The bedroom floor was laid the way it was to continue the direction from the connected master bath.

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