direction of wood planks in L shaped room

sunnytopOctober 12, 2010

I am having hardwood put down in our L shaped living and dining area. It is an L shape with living room on one wall and dining room on perpendicular wall. Each area is about the same length. There is a fireplace in the crook of the L which is at a diagonal to both areas. I am wondering if diagonal with the boards parallel to the direction of the fireplace would look better than have it lengthwise down one area and horizontal across the other area. I don't think horizontal will look right in either area, yet one or the other would have to have it that way unless there is another method. Is there another solution that would be aesthetically pleasing that I haven't thought of?

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I would talk to the flooring people first - they have lots of experience (you hope!) and may well have not only standard ways of handling L's but mechanical reasons why doing it a certain way is best. You may also want to take into account (if you have the choice) of deciding if lengthwise is a good idea in either place given that the space may otherwise be long, narrow and a 'bowling alley' (or not).

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 6:27AM
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Unless you are putting down a layer of 3/4 inch plywood over your subfloor, you will have to run the hardwood perpendicular to the floor joists to prevent sagging.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 9:10AM
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When my in-laws bought their condo with an L-shaped great room, they had the floors laid diagonally so the planks all head towards the fireplace. It looks stunning. Geometry says that angle (hypotenuse) will be the longest line of your L, and the general rule is that your lengths should align with the longest direction.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 12:32PM
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Cleo 2007, not on a concrete slab. The sky's the limit on them. The floor layer was here today and didn't seem very gung ho on diagonals. I don't think he's much of a decorator though. He didn't even offer to picture frame the hearth area. I had to ask. He thought the dining area was narrower so he thought horizontal would help widen that area. I think he might be right since the long dining table would offer a lengthwise direction contributing to the overly narrow look too.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Sometimes extra details really help. At first I was thinking of running them longways down the room regardless of the angle of fireplace. The idea of the diagonal is interesting but I can see why installer was not thrilled. Keeping it straight would be a pain. Now that you mention the table running the length of the boards you got me thinking with that detail. I am kinda funny about little details like that and it might bug me that the table goes across the direction of the flooring, when looking from a distance. My table runs lenth of flooring and it seems to flow. Soooo it might be wise to lay yours with flow of table, visually that is. But now that I ponder my house, we were thinking of getting a new kitchen table. It's placement would be against the flooring pattern, which would bug me. But if we get a round or square table it won't bug me. Whew, now I know not to get rectangle.

Don't worry about the fireplace. I would concentrate on how you want the eyes to flow when looking at the space.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 2:17PM
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Can you post any pictures of your living & dining areas? Including a pic of the view as you enter the front door of these areas?

The floor installer may not be gung ho on diagonals because they might possibly be more difficult to install? More cutting? I am not sure.

I've seen pics of floors on a diagonal and it looks really nice.


    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 2:20PM
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Pictures would help.

And it depends your personal style, too...when I think of diagonally laid hardwood, I think of a modern style.

It depends on a the area fits into the rest of the house, the general orientation of the house, etc. It's hard to say what would look best.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 2:24PM
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Sorry, I assumed you were on a crawlspace. You are lucky to have the option. I was stuck with a certain direction which meant my hallway is made of hardwood going crossways. It turned out fine but I remember wishing I could switch directions.

Good luck with everything.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 4:10PM
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Horizontals do take more work and cutting. I'm sure that is why he didn't want to do it. I just read online to expect installers to baulk. I am not modern contemporary, I am traditional. I wonder too if diagonals might look out of character with the furnishings. I found a picture online of a room with the length of table against the floor boards, but with a long area rug underneath and I liked it. I think it was the long rug underneath that made it look good. Most of the time my table is round, but during holiday season it has 3 boards to lengthen it dramatically. I have not had much luck posting pictures. I've already started to tear up the room and baseboards anyway so I'd be ashamed to post pics of the mess. The house is a condo with the entrance into a hallway. The opening to the living area is just off the hallway and the room is not very visible until standing right in front of the opening into it. The fireplace is to the outside corner. The dining area is not visible until walking most of the way across the living area. The dining area is pretty square all around. Thank you for your replies.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2010 at 6:54PM
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Warning: Severe Personal Prejudice follows!

I HATE diagonal flooring. HATE IT. It seems to call attention to itself. It screams "LOOK AT ME! I'M HARDWOOD FLOORING!" :^P

End Announcement of Severe Personal Prejudice.

Actual answer below the line!

In my 1966 ranch the flooring in the house all runs the same direction, perpendicular to the joists. In my L shaped LR that means it runs lengthwise on the long side of the L (the LR proper) and cross-wise on the short leg (the DR).
Looking from LR into DR:

Perpendicular to the joists works in my house!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 11:35AM
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I have to agree that it's takes a certain style home to pull off having diagonal flooring.

IMO, if you're going to have rugs under the table and in other areas of the LR, then I doubt you'll notice the direction of your hardwood once it's installed.

My DR floor is horizontal to the length and I never notice the direction of the wood since ones eye is drawn to the rug.
If both of your rooms are close to the same size, I'd say it's a toss-up. Will you be installing hardwood in the entry? If so, and it's narrow, then you may want to start there with horizontal boards and follow thru to the other areas.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 12:54PM
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