Staggering vinyl planks mean aligning the planks in a way that mimics how a natural wood floor would look. Suppose you align every plank side by side or with a uniform pattern. The aesthetic won’t be a good result. Hence, the goal is to create a natural-looking offset in the alignment and create a look of randomness.
You can easily create staggering patterns by using three different-sized planks at the start of the three rows using the cut pieces at the end of each row. After the three rows, we can repeat the method with minor changes needed in the size of the planks.
Each manufacturer will provide a specific staggering specification when purchasing their vinyl planks. It is best to follow the manufacturer’s specifications.
- Utility Knife with extra blades/Jigsaw/Table saw
- Tape Measure
- T Square
- Pencil or chalk to mark measures
- Adhesive if following glued-down installation.
- Rubber Mallet
- Pull bar
Why Should We Stagger Vinyl Plank Floorings?
- A staggered floor will look alethically beautiful and natural, like a hardwood floor.
- If all end joints of all planks are lined up together, this will create a structural weakness in that area. Staggering spreads these end joints at different places, building strength in the floors.
Patterns to Avoid
Our goal is to avoid any uniformity on the floors like H Shaping patterns or Step Patterns seen in the figures below.
H Pattern: This pattern occurs when the end joint of the first row of planks is exactly lined up with the end joint of the third row of planks.
Close Joints: This pattern occurs when the short end joints or seams seem too close to each other. We should always maintain the manufacturer stated spacing or 8 inches as a rule. If the inches are a bit higher, it’s fine but does not let it go down.
How to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring
- Choose a starter wall. We generally lay planks parallel to the length of the walls. Begin at one end and work your way towards the other end.
- Install spacers on the walls. Be sure to use the exact manufacturer-specified spacers or the equivalent size.
- Start laying out the first row of vinyl plank floorings.
- Once you reach the end of the first row, you will most likely have to cut the end piece to fit in the room.
- Please make sure that the cut piece you just received from the first row is no less than the manufacturer’s specification in size. A general standard is 6 to 8 inches. If the trim piece isn’t up to size, make sure to use a new plank and cut it accordingly. Measure the plank using your tape measure.
- Once you’ve marked the required measure, use your utility knife with the T-square and cut the plank. Do not stab the plank. Our goal is to create a couple of clean, shallow cuts along the marked line and snap the plank. The plank should break off perfectly. You can also use jigsaws or plank cutter machines.
- Use the cut piece from the first row as the starting plank on the second row. The starting plank in the second row is around 6 to 8 inches or the specified manufacturer size. The gap between the seams of the first row and the adjacent seams of the second row should be no less than 8 inches.
- Complete the installation of the second row. Make sure you lock both short ends of planks together. Also, remember to lock in the new rows with the previous rows. Use a scrap piece of plank and rubber mallet.
- At the start of the third row, use the cut piece from the second row. Follow the same rule as above and complete the third row.
- Remember the things to avoid stated below and adjust the size of the planks if the pattern stated above shows up. If cut pieces align somehow, use the size of the two rows down.
- This staggering method is not an exact science as rooms often tend not to have perfectly straight-edged walls. The room-length might only give you short ends that do not meet cut piece size criteria.
Repeat this process all over the room doing three rows at a time. Make sure to lock planks together tightly using the rubber mallet and a scrap piece of plank.
Frequently Asked Question
How do we cut Vinyl Plank Floorings?
We can cut these vinyl planks through different tools. Laminate cutters will do the job perfectly. All you need to do is place a mark on your plank, stick it into the laminate cutter and pull the cutter’s handle down. This tool is the best for cutting the short ends.
Table saws are another way to do it. It is most useful to cut long ends or strip the plank’s width. Cutting short ends is also very easy. Just mark it and slide it through the table saw.
Another easy tool is a jigsaw. It is best for short-end cuts. Long strip cuts may be hard as we need a steady hand. So, we only recommend it for short-end cuts, curves, or door jams.
The money saver tool to use is a utility knife. Mark your short end and score it from the front and the back. Add a little force with your hand, and the plank should snap right off.
Professionals can use a utility knife even to cut curves. For beginners, we only recommend short-end cuts. If you cannot cut straight lines, then use a T Square.