6 Easy Steps to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring – 2023 Guide

6 Easy Steps to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring - 2023 Guide
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In contrast to hardwood planks of varying lengths, vinyl flooring planks are all the same length. This may result in odd joint patterns that are eye-catching but not in a good way. Hence the question:

How should I space out vinyl plank flooring? Cut the first plank of the second row to a length of two-thirds of a plank to stagger the rows.

Below, you will see what tools and supplies you will need for this process as well as the typical prices for each item. We will also break down step-by-step what you will need to do in order to properly stagger your vinyl flooring.

The LVT staggered pattern alone does not make a difference. Staggering vinyl flooring also maintains the structural integrity of the floor, lowering the possibility of problems like plank bowing, separating, or warping. (Read More: 10 Best Mop For Laminate Floors – Best Ways to Clean)

Tools, Supplies & Costs


  • Utility knife: $7-$12
  • Replacement blades: $3-$6 per pack
  • Tape measure: $5-$15
  • Straight edge or T-square: $12-$25
  • Spacers: $3-$5 per pack of 200
  • Safety gloves: $4-$10


  • Vinyl plank flooring: $1.30 to $4.19 per square foot. ft.

Step-by-step Procedure

Prep Steps before Staggering Flooring Planks

Your vinyl plank flooring patterns will lose some of their luster if you skip these important steps.

  1. Divide the width of the planks you are using by the width of the room as measured. This will tell you how many full rows of vinyl planks you’ll need. If you’re still having trouble understanding this idea, the example in the next point will help.
  2. The size of the last row should be determined. If it is narrower than a typical plank, cut the first row’s planks to match the width of the last row. Your floor will be symmetrical as a result. Here’s the example: Let’s say you’re working with 5″ planks, and your floor is 154″ across. 154/5 = 30 remainder 4. Your floor will have 30 full planks with 4″ left over. Therefore, rip your first row of planks to be 2″ wide. The last row will be 2″ too wide as well – nicely balanced.
  3. In the room where you will lay the flooring, remove your planks from their packaging. The planks from various packages are combined. Why? If the boxes contain planks from different “runs” of the flooring, and likely they are, they might have slight color differences. By blending them, they will not be completely lighter on one side and noticeably darker on the other.

Additionally, read the installation manual that is included with the flooring. You’ll be reminded to put spacers every 1/4 inches between the walls and the planks, for example.

6 Easy Steps to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring - 2023 Guide

Steps for Staggering Vinyl Plank Flooring

  1. Lay a complete plank to start row one. Don’t forget to perform the practical calculation described above.
  2. Ensure that the plank at the end of row one is no less than 6 inches in length. The last piece should be longer than 6 inches, the minimum required for structural strength, so if it is less than 6 inches, cut off enough from the first plank of the row. As necessary, repeat this for each row.
  3. After scoring, cut the first plank in half for row two. From the seam in row one that is the closest to it, its end should be at least 6 to 8 inches away. The seams between the adjacent rows will be randomly staggered as a result. That is what you are pursuing.
  4. To start row 3, cut a full-width plank to the length of the trimmed, ripped piece at the end of row 1. To complete row three, repeat steps #2 through #3.
  5. To start row four, start with the cutoff plank from the end of row two. To complete row four, repeat steps #2 through #3.
  6. This pattern should be followed until your vinyl floor is finished being staggered.

That’s the general notion. However, take note of the first component in each new row. Before snapping the pieces into place, even arrange all of the pieces. Will the joints look randomly placed? If they don’t, you have an H-joint or Step/Lightning problem, which can be fixed by using the advice provided below. If they appear overly uniform, however, something is wrong.

Before getting more specific, the general solution is to cut the first plank of the following row at a length 2-3 inches different from any other first plank in a row thus far—as long as it is at least 6 inches.

Additional Info to Know

  • The “H” problem: An H-joint is created when the seams of the first and third rows coincide. This pattern can unnecessarily draw attention to your flooring because it doesn’t give it a natural appearance.
  • The “Step” or Problem with lightning: The flooring’s step pattern is also affected. Use your cutoff planks to start every other row in order to avoid these. The seams ought to fall in a random order due to the various lengths of each cutoff. If after a few rows you run out of cutoffs, look at the previous two rows and cut the first plank of the following row so that the seams won’t be too close together.
  • As a general rule, leave at least 6 inches between adjacent row seams when using 5-inch wide planks. Raising the minimum to 8–10 inches is appropriate for planks wider than 5 inches. It can be challenging to avoid H-joints when going over 10 inches, though.
  • If the blade on your utility knife gets dull, be sure to replace it. The vinyl planks may develop jagged edges from a dulled blade.

Extended Tips

  • To ensure that the vinyl planks adhere properly and do not easily come apart when you install them over an existing floor, make sure to adequately prepare the subfloor. Fill in low spots, sand down elevated areas, and vacuum to remove dirt and debris.
  • Baseboards and other wall-side casing should be taken out to prepare the space. This enables you to leave a space between the wall and the floating vinyl floors. To make it simpler to install flooring throughout the entire space, you should also prepare to trim door jambs.
  • Installing water and thermal proof underlayment is a great idea to protect the vinyl planks from moisture when installing them on concrete. Discover the best insulation by speaking with your manufacturer.


Even though vinyl flooring is sturdy and stable on its own, staggering can increase the floor’s structural stability. The planks’ aesthetic appeal is also enhanced by racks.

Play around with the smallest spacing and randomly lay the planks down to achieve successful staggered vinyl plank flooring. You should get the hang of it after a few rows. Happy flooring!


Are You Supposed to Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Keep an eye on the pattern of each plank to avoid placing too similar pieces next to each other, which can make the floor look manufactured. As much as possible, use your offcuts and stagger the seams of your boards. Seams should be spaced apart by at least 6 inches, according to the majority of manufacturers.

How Do You Randomly Stagger Vinyl Plank Flooring?

Score and split the first plank in half for row two. Its end should be at least 6 to 8 inches apart from the closest seam in row one. As a result, there will be a random arrangement of seams between adjacent rows.

What Pattern Should You Use for Vinyl Plank Flooring?

A grid pattern is a general design that looks good on both planks and square and rectangular tiles.

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