Consider the Direction of Your Hardwood Flooring

So, you’ve decided that you want to upgrade your hardwood floors, and you have already started to explore the options in terms of materials, finishes, widths and general looks. However, have you also considered the direction of the flooring?

This is not a question homeowners often ponder when first considering new floors, but it is an important one. Not only does the direction of the flooring have a visual impact on the finished results, but it can be a stylistic choice, too. Long before you order or consider the installation, take time to consider just how that floor will be placed in the room you have chosen it for.

Now, you might be thinking something along the lines of, “Hold on a minute…What do you mean ‘direction’…doesn’t the flooring just go one way?”

In a word: No. Take a moment to envision a large foyer. The central figure of that space is the front door and it is likely that there are evenly sized spaces on either side of that door. There might be a coat rack or hall table and other standard furnishings, and there is usually at least one doorway leading off the foyer or a set of stairs leading away from it to another floor above.

Now, consider the hardwood floor in this space. Does it run in a pattern that has the lines or grooves between the boards pointing towards the door or running contrary to it? For example, do those lines run parallel to the bottom of the door?

You can see that this would make a difference. The boards running towards the door elongate the space while those running opposite may visually shorten the foyer, but widen it with the horizontal boards.

So, as you consider your new flooring, think of the direction in the following styles:

Straight or vertical – The boards are all parallel to one another and usually run along the width or length of the room. This is the most traditional and also considered the least expensive as it is the least wasteful and easiest to do.

Horizontal or oppositional – This is when the flooring is not emphasizing the length of the space but the width instead. It can lead the eye from side to side, and turn a rather narrow room into a much wider visual space. It may require more boards and cutting but can be used to create a nice finish.

Diagonal – As the name implies, the boards do not emphasize the squareness of the room but instead run at a 45-degree angle to the walls. This can be an amazingly stylish way to use wood flooring as it offers a bit more elegance and even softens the rooms. The same technique is used in clothes making when a fabric is “cut on the bias” to allow a more fluid appearance. This works really nicely in most rooms, including kitchens and formal spaces.

Random patterns – This is one of the latest innovations and it simply combines a blend of boards in many widths. This creates a very stylish finish since the boards are not uniform in size, and lend a “greener” or more eco friendly look as well as a distinctive decorator’s finish. If you want artisan, rustic or a bit more dynamic, go with this look

Herringbone– This is quite costly and requires knowledgeable installers, but is truly stunning. It is a zig zag design and can be accomplished in several ways, using boards of any width or length. It is quite similar to popular herringbone designs, too.

If you would like to discuss the different directions that your flooring can be installed and learn about the looks this might create, contact the experts at Ottawa Diamond Flooring for a consultation.