How to lay the parquet. Horizontal or vertical orientation?

Do you have to choose the floor at home? The possibilities today are innumerable: from stoneware to ceramics, passing through resins and micro cement.

Among all the alternatives, however, parquet is always very popular, since, although traditional, it is always current and welcoming, and with its natural veins it has an indisputable and timeless charm.

the parquet

Once you have decided to opt for wood, however, the doubts are not over. First of all, you need to understand which type of parquet you want to orient yourself towards, that is solid, pre-finished, or laminated and obviously choose the essence and color that best suit you’re home.

Then, the size factor comes into play, and, last but not least, it is necessary to understand how it is best to lay the chosen parquet, both in the technique to rely on for fixing and in terms of the laying pattern and orientation. of the elements.

Let’s try, then, to delve into the question trying to understand first of all which laying methods exist and secondly which scheme they follow, providing you with some useful tricks to choose in the best way.

Parquet assembly: the installation technique also depends on the format

Before focusing our attention on the various laying patterns, it is good to understand how the laying of wooden floors can take place. There are basically three techniques, but while some patterns and formats lend themselves to floating, glued, or nailed laying, others must be laid only in a well-defined manner among the three above.

Parquet assembly

In all cases, to obtain a perfect result, remember that it is necessary to have adequately prepared the laying surface, which must be compact, flat, clean, free of cracks, dry, and with uniform thickness and mechanical resistance.

Generally speaking, it can be said that the glued installation is used indiscriminately for both pre-finished and solid wood parquet; it is perfect for small sizes or more complex laying geometries, but it also lends itself to larger planks simply laid in a run.

The floating technique

The floating technique, on the other hand, is reserved for planks of considerable size, especially if equipped with special male-female or so-called click-clack joints, and is also perfect for laminates. In these cases, the elements are placed and interlocked with each other on top of a special mat, leaving a space of about 0.5-1 cm at the edges along the walls, depending on the case, which will serve to guarantee over time the natural settling of the wood and will then be visually filled with the installation of the skirting board.

Finally, the nailed laying is the most classic one, now little practiced, suitable only for solid wood elements.

How to lay the parquet

The various planks or parquet strips can then be laid on the ground, in different ways, by placing one element next to the other in such a way as to obtain diametrically opposite designs and visual effects, or in any case very different from each other.

Let’s try, therefore, to make a brief overview illustrating some of the possible laying patterns, at least the most popular ones. Clearly, some alternatives are suitable only for large planks, while others are suitable for smaller elements, or with more particular features.

Laying in running or irregular formwork

irregular formwork

The running or irregular formwork installation is undoubtedly the most common type of parquet installation currently. Perfect for any size of parquet, both for large and smaller planks; it is suitable for both solid wood, laminates, and pre-finished products and lends itself well to both more classic and decidedly modern settings. With this technique, all the elements are laid parallel to each other but staggered in various ways without there being a predefined design between the butt joints.

Regular formwork installation

The regular formwork installation is nothing more than a variant of the scheme just seen. The difference is that the butt joints between two consecutive planks are always positioned exactly in the middle of the adjacent planks.

Laying in a herringbone pattern

herringbone pattern

When it comes to laying herringbone parquet, it means that the strips are arranged perpendicularly to each other so that the head of the first element hits the corner on the long side of the other orthogonal strip. Once the first elements have been installed, parallel rows of strips are created.

This laying method is used in particular with smaller strips, or with the so-called lam parquet (the smallest sizes), but in very spacious environments it is sometimes possible to use it also with larger sizes.

The installation, always rigorously with glue (at most nailed), can be, depending on the case, either parallel, orthogonal, or even diagonal with respect to the walls or doors.

Hungarian herringbone laying

The so-called Hungarian spine is similar in pose to the herringbone one but allows to obtain a completely different visual and aesthetic effect, very classic and elegant. All the elements are positioned perpendicularly to each other, but a 45 ° cut is made on both heads of each strip in order to match head-head.

This solution can also be laid in the variant with the heads cut at 60 °, forming an acute angle, rather than perpendicular, between two successive rows. As far as the laying methods and dimensions are concerned, all the observations just made for the herringbone are valid for the Hungarian spine.

Installation in squares (or mosaic)

Installation in squares

With this method of laying on the floor, practically, drawings are formed that resemble square tiles, each consisting of the side-by-side of several strips, horizontal or vertical. These units are then placed side by side perpendicular to each other forming a checkered pattern.

The paintings, in general, are placed parallel/perpendicular to the walls and the formats used to compose them are only the smallest ones, the so-called lam parquet. For this laying technology, floating laying must be excluded, while gluing and nailing are both suitable.

gluing and nailing


Then there are also more particular and refined laying methods, such as band and ribbed ones, as well as more singular formats, with trapezoidal, square, or hexagonal elements to form effect designs, very suitable for classic style settings, refined and elegant and today, but less and less used.

Orientation of the parquet

So here we are with the initial question: how to establish the ideal laying direction for your parquet?

There are situations in which the laying direction is in a certain sense obligatory: for example, in a long and narrow corridor, the parquet will obviously be laid with the long sides parallel to the walls, following the main direction.

The most classic solutions involve laying the elements parallel or perpendicular to the entrance door of a room. This is good for those rooms with a regular plan where walls are perfectly orthogonal to each other and not clear out of square. We must not forget that today we tend to lay parquet uniformly and continuously throughout the house: in these situations, it will inevitably be necessary to make an assessment and understand which is the prevailing direction.

Generally, unless there are obvious contraindications, it is preferred to give greater prominence to the living room and to those larger and more representative environments, while the other rooms will adapt to the same laying pattern.

Orientation of the parquet

In cases where there is a strong irregularity of the plant, the best thing is to opt for an inclined installation of 45 ° or 60 ° with respect to the walls and doors, with the aim of dampening this evident irregularity.

Finally, pay attention, because in the choice of the laying direction should also have a fundamental role the lighting, especially the natural one coming from the outside, which too often is ignored. Only if the light passes through the individual planks lengthwise will it be able to best enhance the grain and dimensions of the elements.

In conclusion

 wooden floors

As you will have understood, the installation of wooden floors depends on many things. First of all, after choosing what type of parquet to use, color and grain, you have to deal with the format you have decided to adopt.

Only then will it be possible to understand, also in relation to the style and shape of the spaces in your home, which are the most suitable laying methods and the ideal laying direction.

If you can’t make up your mind, get advice from your architect, or even from the manufacturer/supplier of parquet you have decided to turn to, explain to him the effect you want to achieve and certainly his eye, more trained than yours, will be of great help.

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