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Thread: Laminate flooring- which way does it go?

  1. #1
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    Laminate flooring- which way does it go?

    Hi everyone! I know I don't come here as often as I used to, but I still know where to come for answers!

    DH and I bought a second home in VA. By the middle of next year, it will become our primary home. For those of you who know our struggles (basically, me hating to go to work and leave my kids) this is a very good thing for us. It will allow me to not work for a while and then work part time while my kids are in school. I'm very excited about this. We're both still working, meanwhile. It's extremely likely that we'd both be laid off next year so this plan really works for us. We're waiting around for a few reasons and we're also doing some work on the VA house in the meantime.

    So I have a few questions and you'll probably see me around looking for advice and opinions! But I do miss everyone here and I see so many new "faces" too!


    Okay, so here's the question. We originally thought we'd keep the carpet in the VA house. Turns out that after the sellers moved their very large furniture out, the carpet wasn't in such good shape. DH and I decided on laminate flooring and I'd like to begin that process on one of our trips down there. However, I know very little about it.

    Last night, we were discussing which way the flooring should lay. Should it go straight across longways or should we have it go across the shorter way? When I picture it in my mind, I see it going long ways. DH said that'd be too much- that we'd have too many long peices lying there- he thinks we should have it lie across the shorter way because there won't be as many seams- thus fewer problems.

    We're definitely going with the laminate- we have pets and kids so this is a good choice for us.

    I have my eye on a brand at Lowe's- Swiftlock premium in a light oak color. It says it's sound absorbing, has a rubber underlayment, and a 30 year warranty. Also has a rebate of 30 cents per sq foot right now. It's normally $3.97/sq ft. I see cheaper Swiftlock, but I'm afraid. Looks really easy to put down. This is my project. We'll probably do the kitchen and dining area, too. But we'll see how the living room goes first. We don't plan to live in this house forever, but I'm guessing about 10 years (with the way we do things ) Besides, if we fix it up real nice, maybe we'll want to stay there! We like all the neighbors we've met so far.

    Thanks!
    Wouldn't you like to be a Susan, too?

  2. #2
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    I think this is going to be of no help to you . Friends of ours just got a new kitchen floor. The went short. We are talking about doing this too, in our great room and dinning area. (We are talking a huge run!) We are talking about going long ways.

    The size of our friends kitchen (which is in the ballpark of yours) supports it going the short route. I tried to imagine it going long ways and they made the right choice IMO.

    Good luck with all your projects!
    You can't drink rum on the beach all day if you don't start in the morning.

  3. #3
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    Mrs Reber--

    In our last home, we installed laminate flooring. We went "long ways"--it started in the entry, through the living room and into the kitchen. I don't think there is a correct way, although if you think you may eventually do more rooms and they meet, you may want to do the direction that would mean the fewest transition strips--when you lay laminate if you change direction you need to put a strip in--usually at a door frame, hallway opening or the like.

    I've also heard you should consider how the light comes in from the windows--here's how they explain it here.



    Q. How do I determine the direction in which to install my laminate flooring?
    A. To decide where to begin the layout of your floor, consider incoming light. It is usually best to install laminate flooring with the planks running parallel to light coming in windows or glass doors. For any installation, the starting wall should be as long and straight as possible.

  4. #4
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    Congrats on the big move! I faced the same dilemma when the previous owners of my house moved their furniture - I found iron burn marks on my carpetting!

    I have wood floors now, original to the house. I have 2 rooms (living and dining) that run together, no wall separating them. They are both about 10x15, so together 20x15. The wood planks run across the rooms, not the length. Does that make sense? I really want to draw a diagram!
    "Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But, we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while 5 other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh, yeah, did I mention that this whole time we're standing on blades 1/8 of an inch thick. Is ice hockey hard? I don't know, you tell me. Next question."

  5. #5
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    Well, I have hardwood floors but when they were installed the installer said that the floor is laid opposite the way the support beams run. So, in my house the beams go the "short" way, so the floor is laid long way. I realize that the "rule" doesn't apply to laminate but I think that laying it long way is the best looking.

  6. #6
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    We have laminate in our playroom, which runs the full lenghth of the second floor of our house. It was installed by professionals and it runs the long way. I am embarrased to say I never even thought about it before you asked the question.
    I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White

  7. #7
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    My last house had hardwoods in the living and dining rooms. It ran the lenght of the dining room, but the shorter side of the living room. It did run so that the light was shining in from the windows in the same direction. Sounds like you want it to run out from the window walls instead of along those walls. If you have windows on two walls, look ahead to the other rooms you may also be doing and figure out where the most light will come from. I think that rule of thumb makes sense because the light will shine down the length and grain of the planks and accentuate that flow rather than the sides.

    Now tile patterns -- that's even more fun.

    Enjoy your new home.

  8. #8
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    Hi Susan! Welcome to Virginia!

    We have laminate from our front door down the hallway and into the kitchen, which are shaped like a T. We had it professionally installed and we asked them to go longways down the hallway because I thought it would help to make it look longer. It continues into the kitchen, where it goes the short way.

    We were told that it was a matter of preference, but the direction of the light makes sense to me.

    Vivian
    Positive emotion trumps negative emotion every time. - Inception

  9. #9
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    We had laminate installed throughout most of our house when it was built. We have it running front to back everywhere it's in the house - from the front door lengthwise to the back of the house.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone. That actually is a help. Running it from the windows would mean running it the short way. There are 2 huge windows in the living room and plenty of light come in. I never thought of that. I was actully trying to take the lazy way out so I'd have fewer cuts to make going the long way. But I want it to look right, too. I just thought it'd look weird with the furniture (couch) going one way and the floor going the other way. But that's just me. Believe me, I have NO talent for decorating.

    The dining area does connect to the living room, so that is something to consider. However, I think we'll do a tile pattern instead of the wood look. Beth, I'm scared now!

    Bethany, I was wanting to draw a diagram in my original post. I was hoping someone would understand what I was talking about!

    I need to get these floors done before we get furniture in any of the rooms.
    Wouldn't you like to be a Susan, too?

  11. #11
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    I actually read somewhere recently that if you want to change things up a bit you can actually put it -- diagonally. I'm sure the installers would love you!

  12. #12
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    Patterns and borders are fun. They will cost more to have installed because there is more labor and thought involved and can be more waste or materials (they told me about 10% more, depending on the pattern). If you are going to do it yourself, plan, talk to the folks at the store, replan, check your plan. Figure out where to start and how to sqaure the design and work out from there. A diagonal can add a lot of interest to a room and can make a small room look larger.

    The floors in my last house did not go in front of the front door, but they did run the direction that would be lengthwise from the front door to the back of the house (the short side of the house). Are you confused now? We moved our sofa around, but the way we probably had it most was across the grain of the wood floors.

    We are planning on putting in wood flooring here someday -- after the kitchen, and I have pictured it running lengthwise from the front door -- I think that's the length of my dining room and across the sorter side of the living room again. But it does run lengthwise from the windows too. I guess I'm pretty consistent.

  13. #13
    Susan-

    We installed it ourselves. We were told to run it the longest way you can. It looks very nice.

    I would shop around a bit before buying at Lowe's. We learned that the Home Depot and Lowe's laminate is a lesser quality because they negotiate for low prices and are less concerned with quality. This was over a year ago, and obviously just opinions, but I would check out other places just to make sure that you are happy with what you have chosen. We used BHK brand.

    It was a huge project (we did four rooms), but it looks fantastic, and is easy to take care of. Our house looks and feels much more modern. Just know that the cutting is a huge pain! We bought a tablesaw to do it. Putting the laminate down was easy, but cutting it took up all the time. We are very anal, though- and wanted it to look perfect.

    Good luck!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mst
    We learned that the Home Depot and Lowe's laminate is a lesser quality because they negotiate for low prices and are less concerned with quality.
    Check out the products and compare for yourself. You can also find superior products at better prices because of the volume purchasing power, Smaller dealers will tell you it's lesser quality because they want to have an edge and sell you on their product. Sometimes they know what they are talking about, and sometimes not.

  15. #15
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    Running it the longest way you can will make your house look larger. Running it cross wise(short planks) can make a room look wider (great for a long narrow room). I think the fewer seams you have, the better off you are with any future problems with warping or joints poping up. It is personal preference, though.

    Good luck on your new home!

    Check out Lumber Liquidators in your area. They have some great deals on flooring.
    If loving me is wrong, you don't want to be right.

    Don't touch the hair!
    JB

  16. #16
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    This is a long narrow room- I think it's almost twice as long as it is wide. Thanks for the tip!
    Wouldn't you like to be a Susan, too?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrsReber
    This is a long narrow room- I think it's almost twice as long as it is wide. Thanks for the tip!
    I agree with Mbrogier - running the boards the short way in your long, narrow room will make it look wider (or worse, the long way would make it look longer and narrower). I don't think it would look weird to have the floor running in the opposite direction as your furniture placement, especially if you plan to throw an area rug in the middle which will flow with your furniture.

    You got me thinking, what's in MY house? Built in 1833, original hardwoods... just went and looked. Living room was originally 2 rooms and the floor goes the long way until about 2/3 the way down and then switches to the short way! No one ever notices. Placement does seem to follow the Window/Light flow Theory by original room but the planks are very wide so it doesn't seem to matter much in the long/long way rooms.

    Good luck with the install - it takes lots of cutting & patience whichever way you decide to lay the laminate!

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