Need help laying-out my wood floors...

Okay, the room is 16’ x 13’. (208’^2)
The boards are 7" x 18’ (they’re the old ~1930’s bleacher boards from the local highschool gymnasium), and I have 20 of them (so ~208’^2)
If I lay them across the room the long way, I’ll have to cut them down to 16’ and have 20ea. 2’ pieces left over, and I won’t have enough to go all the way across the 13’ room width with full-length boards. I don’t want to have to place all the 2’ sections lengthwise to cover the remaining floor.

If I lay them the other way, I’ll have to cut them to 13’, and have 20ea 5’ sections left to go the rest of the way across the room.

I’m trying to waste as little wood as possible, but have as few joints between board sections as possible and not use a bunch of adjoining short scrap pieces.
What’s the best pattern to use? I can’t seem to get my mind around this one…

Most strip flooring installations are arranged parallel with the long axis of the room. Said another way, what is most appealing to the eye?

Well, it looks like I’m having trouble with this as well…

course board1   board2   leftovers                           boards used
1      10'       6'       8'(L1) 12'(L2)                     2
2       4'      12'(L2)      8'(L1) 14'(L3)                  3
3       8'(L1)   8'(L3)   6'(L3)                             3
4       6'(L3)  10'       8'(L4)                             4
5       12'      4'       8'(L4) 10'(L5)  6'(L6)             6
6       8'(L4)   8'      10'(L5)  6'(L6)  10'(L7)            7
7      10'(L5)   6'(L6)  10'(L7)                             7
8       4'      12'      10'(L7)  6'(L8)   14'(L9)           9
9       8'(L9)   8'      10'(L7)  6'(L8)    6'(L9)          10
10      6'(L8)  10'(L7)   6'(L9)                            10
11     12'       4'       6'(L9) 14'(L10) 6'(L11)           12
12      8'(L10)  8'       6'(L9)  6'(L10) 6'(L11) 10'(L12)  13
13     10'(L12)  6'(L9)   6'(L10) 6'(L11)                   13                  
14      4'       6'/6'   14'(L12)                           14
15      8'(L12)  8'       6'(L12) 10'(L13)                  15
16      6'(L12) 10'(L13)                                    16
17     12'       4'       6'(L14) 14'(L15)                  18
18      8'(L15)  8'       6'(L14)  6'(L15)                  19
19     10'       6'(L14)  6'(L15)  8'(L16)                  20
20      ... 

You have 360 lineal feet of board, but I’m running out of boards in the 20th course. Obviously, I did something wrong. Let me think about this for a while…

In any case, could you use a contrasting wood to make a border around the room? As is, twenty-two courses of seven inch boards uses 352 feet of material and you have 360 feet to work with. Also, the 22 courses comes two inches short of covering the floor. You’re going to have to put some honkin’ big shoe molding on the walls to cover that gap, and even then you can’t afford to make a mistake. Every board will be used, no matter what happens.

Also, do the boards have tounge&groove moulding, or do you have another plan for keeping them level?

Well, take two…

course board1   board2     leftovers
1      10'(b1)   6'(b2)      8'(b1) 12'(b2)
2      12'(b2)   4'(b3)      8'(b1) 14'(b3)
3       8'(b1)   8'(b3)      6'(b3)
4       6'(b3)  10'(b4)      8'(b4)
5       4'(b5)  12'(b6)      8'(b4) 14'(b5) 6'(b6)
6       8'(b4)   8'(b5)      6'(b5) 6'(b6)
7      10'(b7)   6'(b5)      6'(b6) 8'(b7)
8      12'(b8)   4'(b9)      6'(b6) 8'(b7) 6'(b8) 14'(b9)
9       8'(b7)   8'(b9)      6'(b6) 6'(b8) 6'(b9)
10      6'(b6)  10'(b10)     6'(b8) 6'(b9) 8'(b10)
11      4'(b11) 6'/6'(b8/9)  8'(b10) 14'(b11)
12      8'(b10)  8'(b11)     6'(b11)
13     10'(b12)  6'(b11)     8'(b12)
14     12'(b13)  4'(b14)     8'(b12) 6'(b13) 14'(b14)
15      8'(b12)  8'(b14)     6'(b13) 6'(b14)
16      6'(b13) 10'(b15)     6'(b14) 8'(b15)
17      4'(b16) 12'(b17)     6'(b14) 8'(b15) 14'(b16) 6'(b17)
18      8'(b15)  8'(b16)     6'(b14) 6'(b16) 6'(b17)
19     10'(b18)  6'(b14)     6'(b16) 6'(b17)
20     6'/6'(b16/17) 4'(b19) 14'(b19)
21      8'(b19)  8'(b20)     6'(b19) 10'(b20)
22      6'(b19) 10'(b20)

I’m still missing eight feet somewhere in there, but that’s the general idea. Sorry, I need to sleep.

I think I might just be reiterating what cornflakes is saying, but…

If it were my home, I would simply begin laying them, making cuts as I go, always using the remaining cut off board first on the next course.
This would result in an even stair-step pattern:


  • Definitely use the “stair step” method described by several previous posters. It will look much better to keep your joints staggered.

  • All else being equal, flooring ususally looks better when laid running the length of the room. If adjoining rooms or hallways have wood flooring, however, it may look better to match the way they run - otherwise you end up with a patchwork quilt look.

  • You have no room for error. Generally, to cover 208 sq. ft. you would want to have at least 221 sq. ft. of board to allow for spoilage. Draw the room to scale on graph paper. Draw in the boards on the grid so you know exactly how each board will be cut and where it will fit.

  • Do the math before you cut the first board!!! You do not want to get to the point where you need a 1-2" wide board to cover the last course. You would rather rip the first boards to 4" width so that the last course finishes at approximately the same width. Actually, according to my next point you will have a different problem on the last course.

  • According to my math, cornflakes is correct in that you will come up 2 to 3 inches short on the last course, depending on whether you lay the flooring on the room’s long axis or short axis. You need a plan to handle these gaps.

minor7flat5, you are right. I was tired when I posted and rambled, but I was trying to suggest laying the boards in a repeating pattern. I put the board ends four feet apart since I assumed that the boards did not have a tounge and groove moulded into the sides and the wider spacing of the gaps might keep things flatter if the edges were locked together in some other way (like with biscuits, a running spline or what have you.)

Since I showed last night how easy it was to get the board count off, I’d suggest this and go one further. Draw the room to scale and cut scale models of the boards out of thick paper. Place these on the room drawing to determine where to make your cuts and how many boards it will take.

BTW, what is the subflooring, and which way do the floor joists run?

Wow, guys, thanks for the input. I’m going to go by the salvage yard again to see how many, if any, more boards I can buy. I’m tempted at this point to try to do the kitchen at the same time.

The sub-flooring is 1" thick t&g, and there’s plywood and particle board between that and the existing carpet. I’m pulling the carpet, particle board, and plywood, and will screw the bleacher beams directly to the t&g slats.
The floor joists run across the 13’ width of the room (perpendicular to the 16’ long wall). If I only do the main room, I’d run the boards along the 16’ length of the room. If I do the kitchen as well, I’ll go the other way, across the 13’ width and into the kitchen.

Either way, I think I’ll follow the advice of drawing a lay-out to scale and placing construction paper beams down to determine the best pattern.

Is there some reason you’d like fasteners to be visible? Otherwise, a number of hidden anchor types are available-typically developed for outdoor decks, yet no reason prohibits their use in your application.

Others are in the market, too. Speak to a counterperson at a professional lumberyard (not a big box) to see how different products may perform in your application.

Eb-Tys would leave either a 1/4" or 3/32" gap between the boards; that extra two or three inches would be spread between the boards. You could fill the gap with a contrasting material (How about paying cotton and tar between the boards to make it look like a ship’s deck? :slight_smile: )

I’ve heard that decks installed with Eb-Tys can work loose, but that’s probably from the new wood drying out.