Laminate plank end joint stagger distance

Flooring Forum - DIY & Professional

Help Support Flooring Forum - DIY & Professional:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


New Member
Oct 5, 2022
Hi there,

I'm doing my first ever laminate floor installation and am facing some uncertainty on how best to stagger the plank placement.
The laminate planks are 7.5 in x 54.5 in size. The manufacturer's instruction requires a minimum stagger of 16 inches between end joints, with no plank to be cut shorter than 12 in.
However, from research online I've seen that going above a 10 inch stagger is not recommended as it becomes difficult to avoid H-joints, with minimum cut lengths ranging anywhere from 6-12 inches.
I'm wondering what's more important, to meet the manufacturer recommended stagger distance of 16 inches and cut length of 12 inches, or use a shorter stagger (10 or 12 inches?) and cut length (maybe 8 or 10 inches?) to make it easier to avoid H-joints?

For a second question, I understand that I should avoid having any common joints line up for the next 4 rows after the first row. My question is, for the next 4 rows, do the end joints need to follow the minimum stagger distance from the first row's end joints? Or, after the second row, is it permissible for the end joints of the 3rd, 4th and 5th rows to come close to lining up with the end joints of the 1st row as long as they don't line up exactly? Is there a minimum separation that should be followed between the end joints of rows 3 to 5 with those of row 1?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Try to keep the stagger over 12” in adjacent rows. Just keep it random. It looks a lot nicer if you avoid creating any kind of pattern. I wouldn’t want the end butts of rows 1 and 3 too close together but once you get 4 or 5 rows apart it’s ok. I try to avoid cuts smaller than 6” but sooner or later you may end up with a small piece somewhere. Don’t worry about it.

Latest posts