How To Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring? (5 Step Guide)

Although vinyl plank flooring is easy to install, there are a few tips and tricks that will help you create the best possible look for your floor. A large part of this is staggering the planks to avoid any patterns that will jump out to the naked eye.

Let’s take a look at how to staggger vinyl plank flooring correctly with our step-by-step guide.

How To Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring ?

Step 1: Prepare The First Row

You will want to take the time to measure the length of your room and the length of your vinyl planks. This way, you will know what length to avoid for the first piece of the next row. To save materials and money, we want to try and use the scrap pieces from cuts to start the next row. When starting a new row, the joints should be a minimum of 6” apart, and it’s always better to shoot for 8” when possible.

If you purchased spacers, make sure to lay them along all edges that are adjacent to a wall. These will help you judge the distance you need to maintain for growth/shrinkage due to temperature changes. The gap will vary depending on your chosen type of baseboard trim, but it will usually be between ⅛” and ¼”.

Step 2: Start Laying Your Vinyl Planking

Lay your first row and use the scrap from the final piece to start the second row as long as it is at least 6” different in length. If so, continue on row two and use the scrap cut for the beginning of row three. Rinse and repeat with this process until you can’t use a particular scrap piece.

Step 3: Cutting New Starter Pieces

If the scrap from your last cut is too close to the length of the previous starter, you will have to cut a fresh piece. Measure the length of this row before cutting the starter so that we can conserve as much material as possible. You will want to cut this starting piece to a length that results in the scrap from the final piece in the row being a different length than the scrap piece you already have. This way, you can use the original scrap piece in a few rows.

Step 4: Spacing The Joints

You will almost certainly run into a few pieces with joints that line up every few rows. You don’t need to have every single piece of flooring be a different length if you don’t want to. Worrying about this will cost more money as you will use more material. It is OK to use planks of the same length as long as there are at least three or four rows in between them. Also, don’t create a pattern of planks that are the same length every three rows because it will be noticeable to most people’s eyes.

Step 5: Check Your Work As You Go

Make sure you give your floor a good lookover as you lay each row. This ensures that you aren’t creating any unwanted patterns. It always pays to go slow and steady because haste makes waste, and waste means spending unnecessary cash. Avoid any joints that line up, and you will be done before you know it!

Supplies You’ll Need For Staggering Vinyl Plank Flooring

  • Measuring Tape
  • Utility knife or vinyl plank cutter
  • Speed-square or drywall square
  • Spacers
  • Circular saw or miter saw
  • Jigsaw

Final Thoughts

Staggering the planks in your vinyl floor is the absolute best way to ensure that it comes out looking beautiful and stays strong for years to come. It may seem like a waste of time, but take it from the professionals, this is the only way to guarantee the aesthetic and structural integrity of your floor simultaneously.

Meet your Flooring Expert

Travis McCullough

Travis McCullough

Travis is a lifelong jack-of-all-trades in the construction industry with 20 years of experience in a variety of fields. He’s tackled flooring, carpentry, and everything in between on residential and commercial projects of all shapes and sizes.
Working independently and as part of a crew has equipped him with the know-how to not only complete a project but also teach others the finer points within most building professions. When he isn’t out hanging off of a ladder or crawling around on a roof, Travis spends his time educating people about the construction industry.

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