How and Which Direction to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring: Quick Course In Laying Your Own Vinyl Plank Floor

Luxury Vinyl Plank is a great choice for a floor that’s attractive, easy to maintain, and extremely resilient. Newer vinyl products are a very convincing imitation of more expensive choices such as wide plank hardwood floors. While the installation isn’t difficult, especially if you opt for a click-lock product, there are a few things to keep in mind if you want a professional-quality final product.

One subtle choice that can have a big impact on the final product is the directionality of your installation. The choice of whether to lay your planks horizontally, vertically, or at an angle depends on the room you’re installing in and the effect you’re trying to produce.

If you’re preparing to install vinyl plank, this post will give you a crash-course on this important design choice.

Which Direction to Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

Focal Points – Understanding The Shape Of Your Room

To understand how best to lay the planks during your flooring installation, it pays to understand the shape and layout of your room.

The first step is to understand the focal point of your space.

The most prominent features or points of interest will be your space. Some examples might be a fireplace, a grand dining table, a coffee table and sofa, or even something like a billiards table. A focal point will naturally draw the eye of anyone who enters the space. You’ll want to take advantage of your room’s focal point(s) when considering the direction of the planks. For example, you might want your planks to run perpendicular to a prominent mantle piece that dominates your living room, which will naturally draw the eye towards that focal point.

If your room sees a lot of natural light, this can also create a focal point. Laying out your planks so they follow the direction of the light can be a great choice.

Direction Options To Install Vinyl Plank Flooring

If your room isn’t marked by a prominent focal point, there are a couple of other approaches that can make determining the direction to lay your planks easier.

The first is to run the boards along the direction of the longest wall in the room, simply along the walls if in a hallway. This has the natural effect of making the room seem larger than it really is, and is a great way to produce a spacious feeling. If you’re worried about the opposite problem – a room that might feel too big or empty – running the planks parallel to the shortest wall can make the space feel more snug and cozy.

Other directions – such as at a 45 degree angle to the walls – can be more confusing to the eye, but can look great in the right space. If you have a space with angled walls or another kind of unusual room configuration, this can be a great choice too.

Preparations For Installing Vinyl Flooring

When you’ve picked your direction of choice, make sure that you do all of the necessary prep work to have a successful vinyl installation. Here are some tips for a great vinyl plank installation:

  • Remove The Existing Floor: While some vinyl plank products, like click-lock, can be installed almost anywhere, it’s still a great idea to completely remove your existing floor before installing. The biggest advantage is that you can guarantee a completely flat surface, which is also our next tip.
  • Work With A Flat Surface: Much like the princess and the pea, your vinyl floor can often betray the smallest bump hiding below the surface. It’s a must to install over a completely flat subfloor, which means watching for slight bumps, protruding nails, and other irregularities.
  • Prepare Your Subfloor: Not only should your subfloor be free from any bumpiness, but you should make clear it is absolutely clean and level. A properly prepared subfloor will give you a smooth installation, and a great-looking floor that lasts for years.
  • Install Underlayment: While many say that underlayment is “optional”, you shouldn’t consider your installation to be complete without it. Underlayment performs several critical jobs.

First, if you are performing a floating or click-lock installation, underlayment ensures that your floor will remain in place and not move or shift. Second, underlayment provides valuable cushioning that might be lacking from your vinyl planks, depending on their thickness. This cushioning reduces sound, makes your floor feel softer underfoot, and can help your floor enjoy a longer life by resisting wear and tear.


If you’ve decided on luxury vinyl plank flooring installation, you’ve picked a fantastic product that is one of the most popular flooring solutions on the market today. By taking care to prepare for the installation properly, and with a little planning on the direction you’ll be laying the planks, you can be confident in a great final result and an attractive floor that will last years.

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