This is a question that I get asked many times while I’m building or renovating people’s homes. The answer to this question depends on a few things, different scenarios allow for different installations.
In newly or newer built homes you don’t have to worry about the way that you run the floor. Especially if it’s a properly built custom home. A properly built custom home will be built to or exceed the current building codes and thus the sub-floor will be a level plain that will not move a lot overtime.
The actual installation or direction of the flooring can be done across the joist or with the joist. It can be run on an angle or the flooring can change direction, whatever design or pattern you desire. The new sub-floor should easily be able to accommodate this.
The only thing that you need to think about is what will look the best. If you have a room that is long and narrow then you probably don’t want to run the flooring the long way, you will want to run it the shorter way to help give the room a feeling that it is wider then it is, this will help balance out the room.
When running flooring down hallways you have to decide if you want the hallway to appear longer then it is (then you run the flooring straight down it) or do you want it to appear shorter (then you run the flooring across it).
With older homes you have to be careful which way you run the flooring. A lot of older homes were built before the building code was implemented or were simply built with less than ideal materials. This can cause the floor to move with changing temperature, weight and time. With these kinds of sub-floors you want to run the flooring whenever possible across the floor joist. This will allow the hardwood flooring to span any raises or depressions in the floor and allow the floor to run straighter and more level.
A good quality hardwood flooring when properly installed with an appropriate number of fasteners will help the sub-floor resist the urge to move from changing temperature, weight and time.
If you have or want to run the flooring a different direction then a good idea is to try and re-enforce the sub-floor from below. This can be accomplished with blocking or by adding supports to the floor from below.
This will help stiffen the floor against moving and allow your floor to remain straight and level for years to come.
The same design should also be considered in older homes, remember that the direction you install the flooring can change the look of a room very quickly.
Village Builders Inc.