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HELP! What direction to lay hardwood flooring?

Posted by mrs-mjt (My Page) on
Sat, Oct 25, 08 at 17:25

We've added on a family room to our home and plan to install hardwood in that room and the adjacent Great room. The floor joists run NS in the family room (new addition) and EW in the Great room so laying floor in either direction has pros and cons. It would look best not to do a direction change since the rooms are connected by a 6' opening and it would look choppy.

Wish I could post a picture of floor plan (perhaps hubby can help me later) so will try to explain. When you walk through the front door (EAST) or Garage entrance (EAST), you immediately enter the great room and can see right into the 6' opening that connects it with the new Family room which has a focal point wall (WEST wall) with beautiful windows and a fireplace. ALL the windows in both rooms are on the WEST wall.

Both the family room and the great room are narrow rectangular rooms and the length runs N-S. The Great room is 35' L x 19' W while the family room is 26' L X 14.5'W. If I measure from the WEST wall of Family room, where fireplace is located, through the opening and into the Great room, the length from EAST-WEST is 33.5' L.

A 12.5' hallway runs N-S to connect the Great room to the bedrooms and it will have hardwood.

So far, I have heard these tips on how to decide which way to lay the floors:
1. Parallel to the direction that sunlight comes into the windows. (would favor E-W run since all windows on W)
2. Running away from you (instead of side to side) when you come in the main entry (favors E-W run)
3. Running the long way in the longest room (favors N-S)
4. Running the long way in a hall (favors N-S)

I'm leaning towards running floor E-W because visually I think it would make the narrow rooms appear wider plus it draws your eye from the front door straight into the family room and the Fireplace wall.

Do you agree or disagree? Please help! I have to decide ASAP!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: HELP! What direction to lay hardwood flooring?

Without shoring up the substrate, the wood flooring must run across the joists.

RE: HELP! What direction to lay hardwood flooring?

floorguy, I was hoping you would answer for Mrs-Mjt since you have so much knowledge. But I do have a question since all my knowledge is only from reading and learning and not from actual experience except for testing wood samples. What does shoring the substrate mean and what are joists?

RE: HELP! What direction to lay hardwood flooring?

Floorguy, My flooring guy assures me that the floor will be strong and I'm not sure what he's doing to make that a reality but he's installed many floors and I trust him.

Any thoughts on which way to run the floor aesthetically?

RE: HELP! What direction to lay hardwood flooring?

What you are asking mrs-mjt involves several technical issues such as the joist sizing & spacing along with the subfloor thickness and what the subfloor is actually made of. There are guidelines for hardwood installers to go by.

That said, running the wood on a diagonal makes all this a moot point.

Lynn2006, shoring up the substrate can mean either installing an underlayment over the subfloor, or install blocking every 2 ft. between the existing floor joist or trusses.

RE: HELP! What direction to lay hardwood flooring?

jerry_t, thanks for letting me know. I have a concrete sub-floor so there will be no plywood to nail or glue the floor down to. I am thinking of making the floor long ways when one walks in the door so when the cabinets are put back on the floor and the little bit of walk way between the cabinets and my desk will have long boards and not many horizontal busy looking boards.

This has been such a tough decision for me since I actually fell in love with the Bruce Park Avenue Pradoo Laminate, the BR-111 Brazilian Cherry Triangulo Engineered and the BR-111 Amendoim Triangulo Engineered and could not make up my mind. I hope I am not making a mistake since I know Brazilian Cherry darkens dramatically but I love the coloring of the red tones.

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