Why have you decided to look up how to stagger vinyl plank flooring? Well, you had just laid the first row of flooring in your basement remodel. “Piece of cake,” you thought to yourself as you admired your work.

You had your favorite old college sweatshirt on. The sweet melody of a Grateful Dead song drifted from the radio as you blissfully installed your second row of flooring. You had just laid the final piece and stood up to admire your work. Then, your wife asked, “Are all the seams supposed to be lined up like that?” You looked down. That could be a problem, you thought to yourself. The seams were not supposed to be aligned like that, which is how you found yourself here.

Luckily, we wrote this easy guide on how to stagger vinyl plank flooring just for you, so you can get back to your project and finish that floor confidently!

Why Do You Need to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring?

There are two main reasons that vinyl plank flooring needs to be staggered; 

  • For a more natural and visually appealing look.
    • Real hardwood floors have staggered seams; replicating this gives a more natural look.
    • Your eye is drawn to patterns and things that are aligned. Randomly staggering your seams will help your flooring blend into the background.
  • For a structurally superior installation.
    • As your subfloor moves over time, it can cause seams in the flooring to pop. By staggering your seams, you help lock your flooring in place, reducing the chances of movement. Although vinyl plank flooring is a floating floor, these same principles apply.
An example of staggering hardwood flooring.

How to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring- 2 Simple Keys To Success

  • Cut Your Starting Piece 2” Longer or Shorter Than Your Previous Two Starters
    • The key to staggering your vinyl plank flooring is all in your first piece. Cut your starter, so it is at least 2” longer or shorter than your previous two starting pieces. From there, just run your flooring normally.
    • Example: You are about to run your first row of flooring. You decide to start with a piece that is 10” long.
      1. On your second row, you start with a piece that is 7” long.
      2. On your third row, you start with a piece that is 3” long.
      3. On your fourth row, you start with a piece that is 12” long.
You definitely want to avoid doing this.
Avoid having consistent patterns in your flooring.
Bingo! Nailed it.
  • Randomize Your Starter Lengths
    • It can be easy to fall into the trap of simply subtracting 2” from your previous starter for every course. While this would be much easier, it will create a noticeable pattern in your flooring. It is essential to keep things as random as possible. Get creative in choosing starter lengths; let the flooring gods guide you. 

Wow! That’s Easy!

Look at that! You learned how to stagger vinyl plank flooring with a quick Google search and just a few minutes! Just remember; Keep your starter at least 2” longer or shorter than the previous two starters, and randomize your starter lengths. Armed with that knowledge, you’ll have this project done in no time! And it’s a good thing, too, because tomorrow is supposed to be seventy and sunny. You don’t want to be stuck in your basement all day; you want to be out on the golf course or lounging in your hammock. So get that floor done, get out of the basement, and back into the world. You can do this!

Editorial Contributors
Andrew Arena

Andrew Arena

Andrew Arena is an accomplished writer specializing in a wide range of home improvement topics, including flooring, plumbing, and other essential aspects of home maintenance. With a passion for empowering homeowners with practical knowledge, Andrew's writing is known for its clarity and ability to break down complex concepts into easily digestible information. His expertise spans various flooring materials, plumbing systems, and maintenance techniques, making him a reliable source for readers seeking guidance on enhancing their living spaces. Andrew's articles provide valuable insights, tips, and step-by-step instructions, helping readers make informed decisions about flooring options, troubleshoot plumbing issues, and undertake DIY projects with confidence. Whether you're a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a homeowner in need of professional guidance, Andrew's writing is sure to equip you with the necessary knowledge to transform your home into a functional and aesthetically pleasing haven.

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