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Choosing an arrangement for your solid wood floor

Having made the decision to install a solid wood floor, there are still many different options in terms of wood species and finish. The final decision, however, is the installation pattern. This is essentially the arrangement of the wooden planks on the floor, and this can result in radically different effects. When it comes to creating the perfect look for your home, the options can range from a basic straight-line installation to complex parquet patterns, perhaps even with contrasting borders and inset patterns. Here we talk through a few options to help your decision:

Straight-line installations

A straight-line arrangement involves installing planks in lines that are parallel to each other, but even this can involve a number of choices:

Parallel to the longest wall

This is perhaps the most commonly used installation pattern for wood flooring, and it should fit in well with a simple, contemporary décor. By following the longest wall, this arrangement should give an extra feeling of floor space. You’ll also have the option of seamlessly continuing the lines into adjacent rooms.

This is the least expensive way to lay a solid wood floor. We often fit in Liverpool, where rooms can be sizeable, so if this is a factor, a professional will be able to complete this pattern relatively quickly, so labour costs will be lower. There will also be less waste, because most planks can be used complete, with only the wall-side planks requiring cutting.

On the down side, this is a commonly used pattern in homes across the North West, so you may feel it does not bring the uniqueness you want in your home. It also only really works in rectangular rooms. Other rooms may experience a diagonal-like effect, or an abrupt change of direction may be needed to continue following the walls.

Parallel to the shortest wall

This minor variation goes at right angles to the previous example, so the planks are perpendicular to the longest wall. This is less commonly used, because you lose the emphasis on the longest space. It is also slightly less efficient, because it involves more cuts, especially in very narrow rooms. That said, laying your floor this way does help to maximize the appearance of the limited width in such narrow rooms, and the increased emphasis on the individual boards adds a rustic tone.

Diagonal patterns

A diagonal pattern can bring an added element of luxury while remaining relatively true to the traditional straight-line arrangement. It also fits well with non-rectangular rooms, because it doesn’t attempt to follow any of the walls. Diagonal arrangements also generally result in longer lines, giving a room an airy feel. This makes it ideal for smaller rooms where you want to make the most of limited space.

On the downside, it will be more labour intensive and costly. Unless the boards are mitred at 45 degrees in a rectangular room, you will require a very skilled installer to cope with the unusual angles needed. The mitres at the edges also result in slightly more wasted wood and therefore a higher cost for materials.

Mixed-width planks

You can vary the straight-line parallel design by combining planks with different widths. This adds a rustic feel while also making it look a little different from the norm. As with a standard straight-line layout, wastage is low, but the inclusion of narrower planks will inevitably mean it takes slightly longer to install.

Parquet installation

The term “parquet” refers to any arrangement of wooden blocks in a geometric pattern, so it typically includes anything more complex than the straight-line variations listed above. Some parquet arrangements, like the chevron, can be relatively simple, yet they can still add a dramatic effect to any home. More traditional buildings in Liverpool may still have the original parquet flooring, and if you want to keep this traditional look, then parquet could be for you. The possibilities are only limited by the designer’s imagination, however, and they can include complex patterns, possibly even with multiple materials.

Traditionally, skilled professionals create parquet floors plank by plank, but some parquet patterns are available in square modules for faster installation.

Square

A square pattern is one of the simpler parquet arrangements. This involves laying the planks around the outside edge, optionally with mitred corners. The installer then moves inward with increasingly small squares until reaching the centre of the room. This effect works best in relatively empty rooms by drawing attention to some central feature, such as a dining table.

This compromise between complex parquet and the simplicity of straight lines is relatively easy to install, but it does need careful planning, because rooms are rarely perfectly rectangular.

Chevron

A chevron arrangement can add a real sense of direction to a room. The classic chevron arrangement involves mitring the ends of the planks to 45 degrees, so when they meet, they follow a zigzag pattern. These zigzags usually follow the shortest axis of the room, while the straight lines formed by the joints follow the longest axis.

This eye-catching arrangement is rather popular, although some people may find it too simple for a large space or too complex for a smaller space. As each board needs to be mitred, the installation will inevitably take longer and result in more waste.

Herringbone

A herringbone arrangement gives a classic look that many people associate with an expensive solid-wood floor. The planks are arranged in a diagonal zigzag pattern, much like with the chevron pattern, but here the planks are not mitred. This results in a subtler zigzag effect when compared to the chevron. Again, traditionalists in larger Liverpool buildings may well prefer this, while the more contemporary inclined may find it a little dated for their tastes.

Other wood floor designs

It is simply not possible to cover all the possible parquet arrangements, but some other common examples include checkerboard, brick, and basket weave. Any parquet layout can also be supplemented with borders and inset patterns for added dramatic effect.

While choosing a layout, remember to consider the wood you will be using. For example, a wood with a highly contrasting grain often does not need a complex pattern, so you find may it works best with a simple straight-line installation. Conversely, when using wood with a simpler grain, you may prefer to arrange it in a parquet pattern to add more details.

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