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Laying Your Flooring Planks – The Basics

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Before you opt to lay your beautiful new floor covering yourself, no matter if it is engineered timber, laminate, or solid wood, make sure you are prepared for the task ahead,

When it comes to laying a floor, there are many things to consider, however, we will cover those in another article. There is one topic that we should finally clear up and will do so today: what is the correct way to lay your planks.

Everyone has their own opinion on the way that planks should be laid. Just look around on the Internet at the many suggestions given as well as the myths and rumours that circulate. Even though personal preference is a big influence and does come into play, we are here to help.

The first option that is routinely recommended is to start by laying the planks parallel with the longest wall in the room. However, this method is only valid if there is indeed a longest wall.

What happens if the room is square? Our advice is to lay the planks towards a source of incoming light. When the walls are fairly equal in length, then point the planks towards the main light source in the room, such as a window or French glass doors.

To achieve a natural, spacious feel, the combination of natural light and the direction of the planks will have a significant impact on that goal.

With these guidelines, your new O’Brien timber floor will transition seamlessly into your beautiful, stylish home. The only exception to this is when the flooring in the next room is laid in a different direction.

If the next room’s flooring is laid in a different direction, it is appropriate to lay the new flooring in the same direction. This will promote a degree of continuity. In today’s world, perpendicular planks varying room to room are not stylish.

There is no reason why a homeowner cannot lay a new O’Brien timber, vinyl, bamboo or laminate floor as long as some advanced prep work is completed. 


Timber, laminate, vinyl and bamboo flooring, in their most popular form, come in long boards. When you go to purchase the boards, you will notice that there are different specs when it comes to the length. The shorter the board, the cheaper the price. The goal with wood flooring is to have long boards since those are higher quality.

When it comes to laying wood flooring, the most popular method is to run the wood from the front door straight to the back of the house, or in other words, perpendicular to the front. Imagine how the wood planks look in a bowling alley. They run from the front of the lane to the back. That is exactly what you want in your home.

As hard as you may want to, do not turn the timber planks in different directions throughout the different rooms of your house. Even though it may create interest in that particular room, it will make the house look chopped up. It will also cost more money to complete the project, especially in open plan or smaller homes.

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Consider this a general rule when it comes to installations, but remember, your O’Brien Timber Floors Melbourne specialists, are always here to help if you get stuck! However, this rule has exceptions based on the layout of your home and also unique circumstances.

One exception is if you are doing a special pattern, border or inlay. Either of these would cause a change in the general pattern that the flooring was being laid in. This type of change is often done in higher-end installations and does give a naturally appealing look to the floor.

Another exception would be if you are doing a new floor installation in a particular area and you can’t feather it into the existing flooring. Examples would be changes in the colour of the new wood verses the existing flooring – such as dye changes or maybe the existing product is no longer available so you had to substitute.

If that’s the case, the best option would be to turn the flooring in the opposite direction in order to make a crisp transition. Just remember, take into consideration the layout and architecture of the room and plan ahead.

Don’t feel like doing the job yourself? Why not let one of our professional installation team members take care of the process for you? O’Brien Timber Floors works with highly skilled tradespeople only, so you can rest assured that your project will be completed to complete satisfaction.

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