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How to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring

Staggering vinyl plank flooring

Homeowners are always looking for ways to improve their homes or make upgrades. It is usually cheaper than buying a new home. There are also things that a homeowner can do on their own, such as installing vinyl plank flooring. Vinyl plank flooring looks nice and is easier to take care of than carpet. It makes a room “pop” if installed correctly. If it isn’t installed correctly, then the flooring can bow, warp, or separate. Wondering how to stagger vinyl plank flooring? Take it out from the boxes and mix them up and follow the steps to install the flooring correctly.

Why Should I Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Believe it or not, there are reasons to stagger vinyl plank flooring. These are:

  1. The flooring will look more natural and aesthetically pleasing – our eyes like to see patterns and alignment. If the planks are staggered, then the seams will help the floor blend. Since vinyl plank flooring is not the same as real hardwood material-wise but has the look of it, staggering the seams will make it look more natural.
  2. The flooring should be installed to where popping won’t occur – this is because the floor will move over time and can cause the seams in the floor to pop. If it is staggered, then it helps lock the floor into place.
Sometimes you need to cut the vinyl plank flooring to make it fit.

Tools and Supplies

There are tools and supplies you will need to stagger vinyl plank flooring. Let’s take a look.



There are two parts to this process of staggering vinyl plank flooring. These are preparing the planks for installation and then choosing the flooring pattern that you want to use for the installation process. The best way to create a staggered pattern is to make sure that the end of each plank is minimum 6 inches to a maximum of 8 inches away from the seam that is closest in the row before. This will allow for a random pattern and what you want to have.

Steps To Prepare the Planks

Here are the steps below to prepare the planks.

  1. Measure – you will be measuring the width of the room and dividing that by the width of the planks that you want to install. This number will tell you the number of vinyl plank rows you will need.
  2. Calculate – you will calculate the width of the last row. If it is less than the full plank width, then you will need to cut the planks of the first row. The first row and last row need to be the same width. Here is an example: Your planks are 5 inches. The floor is 154 inches across. 154/5 = 30 with a remainder of 4. This means that the floor will have 30 planks and 4 inches left over. So the first row of planks will be 2 inches wide, while the last row will also be 2 inches wide. This will look nice and balanced.
  3. Mix Up the Planks – In the room where you are installing the flooring, you will want to take the planks out of the package and mix them up. Yes, mix up the planks from various boxes. This is because if one box is different in color than another box, the colors will be mixed up and it will flow better.
  4. Read the Directions – sometimes as homeowners, we get excited about a project and don’t read the directions. In this case, it is very important and you will find out that you need to use spacers that are 1/4 inch between the walls and the planks. This is an important direction you don’t want to miss!
If you stagger the vinyl plank flooring, it makes a nice pattern in the home.

Steps to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring

Here are the steps:

  1. To begin row one lay down a plank. Make sure you have done the calculations that are listed in the above section.
  2. The plank that is at the end of row one should not be less than 6 inches in its length. If it is, cut enough off the first plank so that the last piece that will go in the row is longer than 6 inches. This is the minimum needed so that the flooring has the structural strength it needs. Repeat this each time you have a new row.
  3. Next, for row two, insert it into the other plank and snap it into place. This will also allow the planks to stagger and joints are not the same across.
  4. For row two, score and snap the first plank in half. Its end should be at least 6 to 8 inches apart from the closest seam in row one. This will stagger the seams between the adjacent rows in a random way. That’s what you’re after.
  5. For row three, take a full-width plank and cut it to the same length as the one at the end of row 1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 so you can complete the third row.
  6. The fourth row will need you to use the plank that you cut off from the end of row two so that you can start on row four. Again, repeat the steps in 2 and 3 so you can finish row 4.
  7. The pattern and steps above should be continued until the staggered vinyl floor is completed.

It is a good idea to lay out all the pieces before you start so you can tell if it flows in the room. You want the joints to look like they are randomly placed. If they don’t look staggered then there is an H-Joint issue or lightning/step problem.

Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know about staggering vinyl plank flooring, let’s take a look at some other areas of recommended maintenance. One of those is that vinyl flooring needs time to acclimate before installation. To do this, put the boxes of flooring in a room 48 hours before you want to lay the floor. This will allow the flooring to acclimate and expand according to the humidity in the room.

Another area is you might be shopping for a new home and notice that it has sagging floors. You can buy a home with sagging floors, but it would be a good idea to find out what caused it. It can be due to high moisture, foundation problems, or shifting of the ground. You will want to hire your local home inspection team to look to see what caused it and have a full inspection of the home.

Lastly, if you are caulking between the floorboards and the floor and the caulk gets wet before it cures, it won’t create a proper seal and then you will have moisture and insect issues in the home. It is important to let it cure so this doesn’t happen.

When To Call A Professional

Vinyl floor planks are aesthetically pleasing and cheaper and easier to maintain than hardwood floors. However, it is important that the flooring is taken care of properly from acclimation all the way to the end of the project. If you aren’t sure how to lay the floor properly, it is important to contact a professional. The flooring in a home needs to look nice as people see it every time they are in the home. Your local home inspection team can give you recommendations for companies that they have worked with and help save you time and money by hiring a professional.


Installing flooring can be difficult and something you will need to think about before taking on the project. Depending on the size of the area, you may need to hire someone to help you or a professional to do the job. Vinyl plank flooring is aesthetically pleasing and when you stagger it, it turns out amazing! Honor Services would be happy to come in and complete a full home inspection. Give your local home inspection team a call, Honor Services is your best home Inspection company In Brevard County, FL.

Michelle Shishilla

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