How to lay herringbone flooring

How to lay herringbone flooring

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Herringbone flooring is a classic flooring style that’s used in plenty of modern and traditional home and is highly prized for its elegance and class. We love it so much, we’ve even written an entire guide talking about the difference between chevron flooring and herringbone flooring! When it comes to laying herringbone flooring though, this can be a tricky task.

We’re going to take you through the most common ways of laying herringbone flooring, using time-tested methods and filling you in on all the equipment you’ll need too. We’ll also explain what the differences could be between laying herringbone flooring on concrete vs plywood subfloors, so keep reading to get all our tip-top-Tapi info!

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What is herringbone flooring?

Herringbone flooring is a timeless look that hasn’t gone out of style in hundreds of years – and it’s easy to see why. This angled look uses wood planks or boards and places them at 90-degree angles from each other, to create an alternating zig zag pattern that adds a lot of interest to your floor while staying subtle. Different lengths and widths of planks can really vary the effect of herringbone flooring, so you can create lots of different looks with the same style – although you should always use the same size when installing them to create that iconic herringbone look!

In fact, there are lots of different patterns you can create too – double herringbone doubles up the planks to create a thicker pattern, and block basket weave creates squares of wooden planks that make large blocks of alternating patterns. Your options really are endless, not to mention the different options you have for the type of wood flooring you use!

Herringbone laminate is increasingly popular because its versatile and long lasting, and its design makes it a lot easier to place the flooring too, as each board just clicks together. Luxury vinyl tiles can also be used and has many great qualities that make them well worth the effort of laying.

How to lay a herringbone floor: step-by-step guide

There are a minimum of six steps you’ll need to take when you want to lay your own herringbone flooring, as this is a tricky pattern to get right. We always suggest that you use our professional fitting service when you buy herringbone flooring from us, as this process can be complicated, and our fitters are extremely skilled and well-priced. If you want to have a go yourself though, here are the six steps to follow:

Step 1. Preparation

Step one is preparing your room for new flooring. You need to ensure your flooring has had time to adjust to the temperature and humidity of the room, your subfloor is level, completely clean and free of any debris, and that the rest of your home is also prepped to accommodate any dust or debris from the fitting process. You can follow our checklist of how to prepare your room for new flooring to make extra sure you’re ready. This is also the time you would lay down any underlay you might need – find out more about how to lay underlay and other helpful guides in our DIY corner section.

Step 2. Create an expansion gap

To begin laying your flooring, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got your expansion gap laid out all around the room (this is only applicable if you’re laying wood or LVT planks as you don’t need expansion gaps with glue down LVT). Use markers or expansion spacers to ensure you remember to keep that important gap – it’ll ensure your flooring has room to grow and shrink and means you won’t have any nasty surprises like planks breaking or moving unexpectedly.

Step 3. Mark the centre of your room

Here’s where you might find some conflicting information – some fitters prefer to start in the middle of the room, beginning by clicking boards and laying them from the middle point, while others may prefer to start from the edges by fitting several boards together and cutting them down to create triangles that line the wall where you’ve placed your expansion gap. Finding the centre means that you’ll have even cuts on either side of the room and is essential if you’re working with flooring that is being adhered to the subfloor.

Whichever method you prefer, measuring the room can be helpful anyway, if you want to create unique patterns with your herringbone in the centre, or if you want to find the central point to hang a new light fitting. Our guide on how to measure a room has got you covered, but we also offer a free planning and measuring service that can provide all that information for you before you begin.

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You will need three A boards and two B boards – they’ll have A or B written on the bottom of the planks, and this just lets you know whether it’s a right or left clicking profile. To form the classic herringbone 'V' shape, click the first B board onto the header joint of the first A board. After that, get your second A board and place it alongside your first A board to the right of your 'V' shape. The second B board should be placed alongside the first B board and clicked into the second A board's header joint.

Put your third A board on the right side of the 'V' alongside your second A board and click it into place. Then you’ll add a fourth A board to your second B board's header joint. From the top right corner of your third A board to the top right corner of your fourth A board, draw a straight line with a pencil and ruler, and cut along this line with a saw. This will leave you with an inverted triangle shape, which you should place in the centre of the back wall (the wall facing the door).

Tapi Top Tip – Remember to glue your triangles together when you create them so that you only need to move one piece rather than lots of little pieces.

Keep creating these triangles and placing them next to the others until you’ve lined the entire wall with these triangles. The triangles at the corners of the room may need to be sawed to fit properly, again using your pencil and ruler to draw a line to follow with the saw. Then, begin laying the rows of planks, working from left to right all the way along, cutting your final board to fit, and then beginning the next row working right to left. Keep using this method until you reach the other wall, when you’ll need to saw your boards to fit once more.

Step 5. Creating your preferred pattern

Creating the pattern you want will require extra thought and care. Our steps only cover the standard herringbone pattern, so if you want a different pattern or want to experiment with doubled-up planks, you might want to speak to one of our floorologists at your local Tapi store or employ our professional fitters.

Step 6. Finishing up

Double check all your measurements, cover up your expansion gap with skirting boards or moulding, and finish your floor if it needs to be sealed. Taa dah! Your beautiful new floor is ready for anything that life will throw at it.

Installing herringbone wood flooring on concrete and plywood

The process for installing herringbone flooring won’t differ too much depending on the type of subfloor that you have – whether you have concrete subfloors or plywood subfloors, the only differences will be how you prepare your subfloor for new flooring, and what type of underlay you need to use, as concrete can transfer lots of moisture to your herringbone boards, so you’ll prioritise a moisture-resistant underlay for concrete subfloors.

Get in touch with Tapi's Floorologists today to learn more about herringbone flooring. Our team will help you choose the right herringbone flooring for your home and can also arrange fitting for a time that suits you. Take the first step towards transforming your home's flooring by visiting your nearest Tapi store or booking a free home visit. Alternatively, head on over to our Ideas Hub for more interior inspiration, including tips on styling parquet flooring.

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