Can You Lay Laminate Floor in the Opposite Direction As it Lays on the Stairs?

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Installing laminate floors is easy but takes some pre-installation planning to get the job done successfully. Planks laid in opposite directions can be difficult to install and can ruin the aesthetics of the floor. Improperly installed planks can also make it hard to install finish pieces.

Planning Your Installation

  • Laminate flooring installation guides often recommend laying laminate planks parallel to the longest wall in the room. This isn't always possible or practical and you may need another plan for installation. Laying planks parallel to the direction of foot traffic in hallways or other busy spots can help reduce wear and tear. From an aesthetic perspective, planks laid parallel to the sun shining in from windows is preferable. Take time to lay some planks out before installing to check out the look. Walk through your house and consider how you will transition from room to room or from the stairs to the landing.

Installing on Stairs

  • Laying laminate planks in a different direction on the stairs as you laid them on the floor below or above the stairs is possible but not recommended. Aesthetically, the shift in plank direction from floor to stairs may be jarring. Ideally, if you're installing laminate on the floor at the top of the stairs, you would install it in the same direction as on the stairs, not the direction of the floor below. Conversely, if you've installed the top floor already and must switch direction on the stairs, lay planks on the bottom floor in the direction of the ones on the stairs. The molding that covers the stair nose is a tongue and groove piece that fits into the plank at the edge of the stair; thus, laying stair planks parallel to the length of the stair is ideal.

Installation Tips

  • Condition your laminate, leaving it in the room for at least 48 hours prior to installation. Open and check all the boxes of planks to ensure they are what you ordered. Mix planks from a few different boxes as you install them to ensure any slight color variations are well blended into the overall project.

Care of Your Laminate Floors

  • Use rugs backed with natural rubber to attract dirt particles that might scratch your floor's finish. Regularly shake out or vacuum all rugs and doormats. Sweep daily with a soft-bristled broom to remove dirt particles that can wear down the finish of your floors and make them look dull. For deep cleaning, a damp mop is acceptable, but never flood laminate floors with water. For best results, use the cleaning product your floor's manufacturer recommends.

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