Strip Flooring 5 - Planning the Floor Strip Flooring 5 - Planning the Floor

There are a few planning guides that need to be understood before you begin.

  1. Strip flooring installation traditionally begins at the most visible wall of the room.
  2. Strip flooring is usually installed parallel with the long wall of the room, thereby perpendicular to the joists.
  3. The last piece next to the most visible wall should be a full-size piece. If you are using random-width boards, this should be a wide board. The piece next to the wall across from this most visible wall can be a special-cut piece.
  4. When installing flooring in adjacent rooms and halls perpendicular to the main room, you may want to turn the direction of the plank. However, avoid laying the flooring in the short direction of a long hallway, since this creates a "ladder" effect.
  5. Work out of several cartons at once to assure a good blending of color.
  6. Avoid boards that have a substantial "bow."


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To assure that the most visible wall has a full-width board, and that the planks are installed straight, use a layout line. This is a line snapped on the floor with a chalkline approximately 30"-32" from your most visible wall and running the direction in which the flooring will be laid. Its exact distance from the wall will depend on the width of the boards you are laying. Again, your object is to end at the most visible wall with a full-size plank.

In the example that follows we are using both 3" and 5" planks, so eight planks will equal 32" (four 3" planks and four 5" planks). We therefore measure out from the wall 32 1/2" at each end, mark this spot, and snap a chalkline there. The additional 1/2" is for the needed expansion gap between the flooring and the wall. Then we must install a straight 2 x 4 as a straightedge to act as a guide when laying the floor. Be sure the straightedge is temporarily nailed to the subfloor perfectly straight and exactly on the layout line. This straightedge will determine the appearance of the entire flooring.



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